In a world where we have so much to work can all be a grind with little or no relief for the team. This will wreck your team’s productivity, engagement and quality of work. The harder the push is to get things done, the more important it is to step back once in a while and relax. As a team leader part of your role is to be a cheerleader who encourages the team. Short, fun team times can really help re-energize everyone and make it easier to get through all the stuff ahead. It also will help each person feel appreciated and that their sacrifices are recognized.
So with all the deadlines looming, how do you find the time to stop and smell the roses? It can be very easy and cost effective to make a little fun time for the team. Keep in mind it should be voluntary to attend and if everyone is working long hours stay away from making time after work hours. Another disclaimer, make sure what you choose is in line with your companies culture. So here are a few suggestions to help de-stress and have a little fun:
- Buy lunch for the team and keep work out of the room for 30 minutes. Get pizza and salads delivered, spring for soda and water. Lead the conversation about funny things that have happened to you. Keep the stories appropriate and free from HR land mines. Laughing at yourself will help the team relax and learn more about you.
- Have breakfast brought in before a team meeting. Enjoy some coffee, donuts / bagels, and fresh fruit along with some light conversation about non-project topics. Taking 15 minutes to get everyone fueled up will help get things going later. Make sure you manage the time without seeming to rush the coffee break.
- Have an afternoon break where everyone gets 15 minutes or so to have a snack and unwind before the end of the day push.
- Celebrate office birthdays once a month. Gather everyone in a conference room mid-afternoon and enjoy a short break and some cake. Recognize everyone who has a birthday that month.
- Take 15 minutes or less each week to recognize the progress that has been made so far. Make it an upbeat pep talk that focuses on how far you’ve come and that you will get through the tough days.
Most people are willing to work harder than they expected to if they feel appreciated. When we slave away and all we hear is that there is more to be done there is little motivation to keep at it. Have a little fun once in a while, recognize the hard work and provide pep talks to keep spirits up. You will find that your mindset improves as does your teams.
What things have you done to keep your team energized during the tough times?
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