Do you sometimes feel what we now call ‘zoned-out’ every so often? Do you find it difficult to stay connected with the work you do and the people you work with? Are you feeling alienated at work?
Well, you’re not alone. There are countless employees all over the world struggling with the same problem. The problem of alienation is a structural problem, but it also has individual nuances. Thinkers, all the way from Marx, have been trying to get to the roots of this alienation, and to deal with it as a society and as individuals.
In this blog, we will try to explore the problem of feeling alienated at work. We will then figure out some tips that you, as an individual, can use to overcome feeling alienated at work.
Feeling Alienated at Work:
Alienation at the workplace can best be described as the state of feeling disconnected from your work, your colleagues, and your workplace. It is often characterized by a sense of isolation and detachment, and it can make your work experience absolutely miserable. A long standing alienation at work can even produce in an individual, signs of mental illness which can exacerbate over time.
The problem of alienation doesn’t just impact employees, but the entire organization. A workforce which feels alienated at work, and no change seems to be in order, can greatly diminish the productivity and motivation of an organization. As an employer, it is incumbent upon you to address feelings of alienation if you want an organization which prospers.
Also Read: What is Hot-Desking at the Workplace: Its Advantages and Disadvantages
Factors Behind Alienation:
There are numerous factors which contribute to the feeling of alienation at work:
Autonomy and Control:
If employees are constantly under the eyes of management and supervisors, and can’t even do the smallest task with full control and responsibility, then the feeling of alienation is bound to rise up. They won’t feel connected to the task at hand, but just a cog in the wheel that churns out labor. Autonomy is essential in the modern workplace, and a lack of it is a major factor behind feelings of alienation.
Lack of Communication:
If there is a lack of communication within an organization, an employee is bound to feel left out. There is no wonder that the places where communication lines are clogged are the most inhospitable places to work at. Feelings of isolation, detachment and a general alienation is common at such places.
If there is a cultural misalignment between an employee and the place she works in, that can contribute to the feeling of alienation and a lack of belonging. A workplace which prizes inclusivity and diversity, and where cultural differences are addressed through a commitment to the shared values of the company, is worth striving for.
Lack of Recognition:
This can also be a major factor in contributing to alienation at the workplace. If your efforts go unrecognized, you might start to question your value in the organization, and may also feel isolated from your colleagues.
Limited Growth Opportunities:
If an employee feels stagnant in his skillset, and can see no opportunities for growth within an organization, he can start feeling alienated at work. Providing growth opportunities for employees is crucial for their well being and confidence.
There are times when there is a mismatch between the skills, values and experience of an employee and the work that is required out of her. If left unchecked, it can lead her to feel disconnected from her role, and the organization at large.
Tips to Overcome Feeling Alienated at Work:
Here are some of the best tips that you can use to stop feeling alienated at work, and thus enhance your work experience:
Build a Supportive Network:
In order to overcome the feeling of alienation, try to approach your colleagues who seem friendly towards you, and cultivate relationships with them. This would help you to get reconnected to the workplace, and these relationships would encourage a sense of belonging.
Seek Common Interests:
You can make your work life lively again by seeking people who have common interests or hobbies. You can develop friendships by bonding on these grounds, and they will extend outside the professional sphere. Participating in activities of your own interest will help you fight the feelings of isolation and detachment.
Express your Ideas:
Try to actively participate in meetings where new ideas are welcome. Contributing thus would encourage you to actively follow up on these ideas with people in charge of their execution, and any good ideas that come out of it will make you feel more valued. Feeling valued can be a great antidote when feeling alienated at work.
Broaden your Perspective:
Try to put your role in the context of the vision of your organization and the services or products it provides. Alienation can take place because you feel your work has no value in the grand scheme of your organization’s goals. If you see for yourself how your work contributes to the whole business, it would help you to take a keener interest in your role. You will also feel more responsible about it.
Reconsider Your Options:
If your fundamental values are coming in constant conflict with those of your employers, and you are not able to address feeling alienated at work, then you can reconsider your career options, and can think about switching the company. If it’s possible, you can also ask for a new role that better aligns with your interests and values.
Learn with DT Evolve:
One of the best things you can do to overcome alienation at work is to try and initiate conversations with your peers and supervisors. But, it’s not easy for a person who has been feeling alienated for so long to ease into communication. If you want to regain the skills that will help you establish connection again, DT Evolve has a course for you. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to understand what people want, respond strategically to their desires and needs, perform clear communication, and acquire the critical communication skills you need to succeed in business and in life. Here’s the link to the course, The Magic of Communication.
In this blog, we explored the concept of alienation, and how it effects individuals in the modern workplace. We talked about the factors that contribute to people feeling alienated at work, which include lack of communication, cultural differences, lack of recognition, limited growth opportunities, and job misalignment. We briefly discussed these factors before moving on to the tips. Finally, we explored the best tips that can help you to overcome feeling alienated at work, and these included seeking common interests, expressing ideas, building a supportive network, broadening perspective and so on. If you carry through with these tips, they will really help you to re-engage with the workplace in a much more lively manner.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Alienation at the workplace can best be described as the state of feeling disconnected from your work, your colleagues, and your workplace. It is often characterized by a sense of isolation and detachment, and it can make your work experience absolutely miserable.
Some of the common signs include experiencing a lack of support or recognition, feeling misunderstood or undervalued for your contributions, listlessness at work and having limited opportunities for collaboration or advancement.
Factors behind alienation generally include lack of autonomy and control, lack of communication, cultural differences, limited growth opportunities, job misalignment and so on.
In order to overcome alienation, you can try to build a supportive network, seek common interests, express your ideas, broaden your perspective and if nothing else works then try to reconsider your career options.
It can be temporary if it’s related to a specific project or period of high stress, and ideally not need your proper attention to ameliorate it. However, if it persists over an extended period of time, it may become a long-term issue that requires serious attention.