Employees’ job performance can fluctuate over time. In particular, employees who work from Monday to Friday may experience patterns of behavior throughout the week that fall in line with the norms of the workweek. But not everyone experiences the same patterns of performance throughout the workweek. In particular, employees who have high levels of trait-based mindfulness—a tendency to be non-judgmental and aware or attentive to the present moment—may be better equipped to maintain their performance throughout the week.
WEEKLY MOTIVATION AND PERFORMANCE TRAJECTORIES
Researchers (Dust et al., 2022) examined employees’ patterns of motivational control (ability to stay on course and remain focused on goals) and performance throughout the five-day work week. Participants first took a survey in which they reported information about their trait mindfulness and job demands. Then, participants took additional surveys twice daily for one workweek (Monday through Friday) in which they reported on their levels of motivational control and performance.
Results of the study show that both motivational control and performance tend to decrease throughout the workweek. However, when job demands are high, trait mindfulness can buffer this declining trajectory of motivation and performance. In contrast, when job demands are low, trait mindfulness does not impact the trajectory of motivation and performance.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONS
The authors suggest several practical applications of these findings. First, they suggest that in order for organizations to overcome the declining trajectories of motivation and performance, organizations may wish to change the ordering of weekly activities (e.g., Monday meetings, Friday social gatherings) in order to disrupt weekly patterns.
Additionally, the authors suggest that employers may wish to consider applicants’ trait-based mindfulness throughout the recruitment and selection process, as employees with high levels of this trait may be less likely to experience decreases in motivation and performance throughout the week. Further, since mindfulness interventions can lead to increases in trait-based mindfulness over time, employers may wish to utilize mindfulness training. However, before incorporating these changes, organizations should first consider the usefulness of mindfulness for their employees. This is because the study results suggest that trait mindfulness may only be useful in the context of high job demands.
Dust, S. B., Liu, H., Wang, S., & Reina, C. S. (2021). The effect of mindfulness and job demands on motivation and performance trajectories across the workweek: An entrainment theory perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication.