CDI Corporation

How contract employees can stay motivated

For contract employees with defined terms of work at various assignments, it can sometimes be tempting to just meet basic expectations. This routine takes many forms: performing adequately but not exceeding one’s capabilities, becoming disengaged (or, on the other end of the spectrum, reckless) and even failing to meet optimal performance levels.

Yet in the IT and engineering sectors, lack of engagement simply isn’t an option due to the breakneck pace of these fields. Remaining motivated is of the utmost importance. Let’s examine some ways you can bolster your drive while working as a contractor:

1. Push yourself outside your comfort zone

Attempting a task you’ve never previously completed is a great way to prevent stagnation, according to Fortune. In areas like technology and engineering, where methods and tools evolve so quickly, there should be no shortage of opportunities to try new things. Consider volunteering for new projects even if you’re unsure whether you’ll be at a given assignment long enough to see them all through. Think of it this way: Showing extra initiative in this manner could motivate the supervisor at your current job to pass along a positive recommendation when the time comes for you to move on.

2. Keep tasks manageable

You shouldn’t fear risk and novelty, but overextending oneself is problematic in nearly every instance. Inc. magazine recommended breaking down larger goals into separate tasks that you can handle one step at a time. Additionally, multitasking is often a bad idea: It’s easier than you might think for this juggling of multiple responsibilities to spin out of control, because of how much it interferes with your attention span. Realizing that this is not always avoidable, do your best to notate what you’ve accomplished on each task, to help you stay organized and evade burn out.

3. Maintain a positive attitude

It’s been proven that positive workplace cultures engender greater productivity, according to Harvard Business Review. Whether you remain on a contract assignment for six weeks, six months or more, it’s vital to keep your spirits up and try to do the same for co-workers as best you can. A good attitude at work can lead to personal benefits that extend outside of work as well, HBR found. These may include improved memory and cognition, better overall physical health and fewer instances of depression, as well as increased professional performance.

Intuit reported that more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will be considered contingent employees by 2020. But the work itself won’t change: Particularly in fields subject to quick change and robust growth like tech and engineering, jobs will require the same level of effort, ingenuity and dedication – perhaps even more so. As such, it will always be important to keep professional environments from growing stale.