End Of Summer Blues – Nearly Half Of Workers Aren’t Ready To Return To Daily Grind

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Little time off and lack of new challenges breeding unmotivated workers, according to DDI study.

Motivated employees are the key to productivity and retention and it’s not just about the money

Nearly half of U.S. workers reported feeling unmotivated about returning to work after Labor Day, citing little to no time off during the summer and unchallenging projects in the fall as the main culprits, according to an August 2007 study released by Development Dimensions International (DDI).

And what are they going to do about it? Nothing, according to the survey of 770 U.S. part-time and full-time employees.

U.S. workers are bored with their current assignments and eager to take on new responsibilities and projects when they return to work after Labor Day. Respondents rank “working on the same projects as last year” (37%) as the top reason for being unmotivated. Conversely, those who responded that they were motivated to return to work after Labor stated they are “excited to start new projects” (35%).

“Motivated employees are the key to productivity and retention and it’s not just about the money,” says Rich Wellins, senior vice president of DDI. “The study makes it clear that employees need challenges to stay interested and motivated. If they can’t find this at their current job, they are apt to look elsewhere.”

Although U.S. workers feel their work is becoming monotonous, when asked what career resolutions they made for after Labor Day, none of the respondents said they would ask their boss for more interesting assignments.

“The onus cannot only be placed on employers alone to keep staff motivated,” Wellins cautions. “As organizations grow leaner and flatter, the opportunity for employees to seek out more diverse, interesting projects increases. Individuals need to take some responsibility for their careers and daily jobs. They can’t leave it all up to the boss.”

What Summer Vacation?
Nearly a quarter of workers surveyed say they took no time off during the summer and a total of 40 percent took zero to four days of vacation, leading 60 percent to report that they don’t feel refreshed as they head into the fall. And of those who took who took a week or more of vacation (42%), nearly 45 percent stated that the “relaxed, just had a vacation” feeling wore off before they even got back to the office, with an additional 21 percent saying that it lasted two hours or less from the time they walked into the office.

Post Labor Day Resolutions
There is hope for those who didn’t have a summer of leisure. Of those who made post Labor Day business or career resolutions, 32 percent are committed to improving their work-life balance. Of course some people focused on more career-oriented goals, including:

  •     Find a new job (13%)
  •     Focus more on my work (13%)
  •     Participate in more professional development (11%)
  •     Get a promotion (7%)

What was at the bottom of the list? Pursuing a raise, which reinforces the fact that people put interesting work ahead of money.

Men and Women Approaching Career Growth Differently This Fall
While both sexes said they would seek additional work-life balance, men’s resolutions reflected greater ambition than women. Of those who made resolutions, 12 percent of males are determined to get a promotion after Labor Day and 18 percent are committed to participating in more professional development opportunities. However, none of the female respondents planned to pursue promotions or professional development, but instead planned to look for a new job.

“Employers are finding it more difficult to find quality replacements for employees who are leaving to find more challenging work or greater promotions,” said Wellins. “So it is critical that employers find ways to engage their staff with interesting work and to provide opportunities for development to keep both men and women motivated and employed.”

About DDI
Founded in 1970, Development Dimensions International, a global human resources consulting firm, helps organizations close the gap between today’s talent capability and future talent needs. DDI’s expertise includes designing and implementing selection systems, and identifying and developing front-line to executive leadership talent. With more than 1,000 associates in 75 offices in 26 countries, the firm advises half of the Fortune 500. For more information visit http://www.ddiworld.com/aboutddi.

Contact:
Jeanine Buell
412-337-9417
jeanine.buell(@)ddiworld.com

Jennifer Pesci-Kelly
412-576-6013
jennifer.pesci(@)ddiworld.com

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Jeanine Buell

Jennifer Pesci-Kelly

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