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‘Reattaching’ to work before clocking in may improve engagement, health: study

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Mannheim, Germany — Visualizing and planning for your workday may lead to better engagement and well-being, results of a recent study indicate.

Researchers from the United States and Germany surveyed 151 workers from a wide range of industries at the beginning and end of each shift over a five-day workweek. In the morning, participants were asked about experiences that helped them reconnect to work before starting the workday. In the afternoon, they answered questions about engagement and job control.

Reattachment includes thinking about tasks that need to be completed, any obstacles that might arise, and the resources or support that are needed. The researchers found that participants who reattached before the start of their shift were more engaged employees.

The researchers recommend that employers explore ways to help workers transition smoothly into their workday.

“It could be allowing them a few quiet minutes at the start of the day, initiating a short planning conversation about the upcoming workday, encouraging them to prioritize their most important goals, offering short checklists or even providing them with more autonomy on the job to complete specific tasks,” a March 15 press release from Portland State University states.

“We know that detachment from work during non-work hours is important because it creates positive outcomes like higher life satisfaction and lower burnout,” Charlotte Fritz, study co-author and associate professor of industrial/organizational psychology at PSU, said in the release. “Now we need to think about helping people mentally reconnect to work at the beginning of their work shift or day so they can create positive outcomes during their work day and be immersed in their work. It’s not enough to just show up.”

The study was published online March 12 in the Journal of Management.

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