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Since it’s the start of a new year, there’s no better time then to think of ways to keep you and your team supercharged throughout the year. That may not be on the top of your to-do-list. But, doing so will boost efficiency, productivity, and morale. And, along the way, it will help you and your team to continue to grow and become more well-rounded individuals.
Keeping yourself and your team energized may seem like an uphill battle. But, here are twelve ways to keep everyone within your organization energized this year.
1. Prioritize time with each employee and yourself.
You’re probably thinking, But John, I don’t have time for this. Besides, it seems unimportant. I would counter that argument by saying both thoughts are wrong.
First, you need to take the time to meet with each team member. You’ll have to put in the effort. I suggest that you block out time in your schedule for this activity. Ideally, this would be when you’ve already planned to take a break. But, if that isn’t possible, do your interview with your employee during an energy drop or when you have a blank spot in your schedule. You can schedule a lunch with each of your team members or schedule more one-on-ones. You can also do my favorite, the walk and talk. Just walk around the workplace for a quick meeting.
All of the above are simple ways to strike up conversations with your team so that you can get to know them better and check-in with them. Knowing more about each person will help you determine better what motivates them, where they could use help, and when they’re most productive. Most importantly, it shows that you genuinely care about them.
Also, don’t forget to schedule a time for yourself. Take a break and reflect on what you’ve accomplished and how you can improve in the upcoming year.
2. Gamify your most important tasks.
As Deep Patel explains in a previous Entrepreneur article, gamification “is turning a task into a game to motivate yourself to do it.” The reason it’s so effective is that “it creates a feeling of being rewarded each time we complete a task, however small it may be. It makes our progress feel tangible, and this spurs us to keep pushing.”
On top of gamifying small and tedious tasks, try using this technique for the most critical tasks of the day. Here a couple of examples you could implement:
Employees earn points for achieving a goal.
Leaderboards can encourage healthy competition as everyone works to be listed as a top performer.
Employees are given a tangible award or badge for their accomplishments.
Related: Why You Should Supercharge Your Workplace With Gamification
3. Show your gratitude.
Want to improve your team’s well-being? How about keeping them engaged, loyal and motivated? You can achieve all of this through gratitude. Research has shown just how powerful appreciation can be. Best of all, it’s easy to implement.
Write hand-written thank-you notes whenever someone goes above and beyond. Give shout-outs at the start of meetings. Reward your team with gifts and perks that they’ll actually enjoy. And celebrate accomplishments together. You’d think this would be easy, and it can be. Just put the intention on your calendar and pay closer attention. It works better for me to pay close attention for the more subtle things once a month, so I schedule it in my calendar the first week of the month.
4. Provide ergonomic furniture and tools.
Ergonomic furniture keeps your employees comfortable, healthy, and happy. In turn, this will make them more efficient and productive. If you haven’t done so yet, invest in ergonomic chairs, sit-stand desks, anti-fatigue mats, monitor risers, and keyboard sleeves.
If you can’t think what your office needs, ask your team. They keep really close track on the newest office items.
5. Hold a fitness challenge.
There is definitely a link between health and productivity. And, while there is plenty of research to back this claim up, I think it’s obvious. How energetic are you after eating a bacon cheeseburger for lunch? Are you productive when working on just three hours of sleep? What is your stamina like when you constantly feel lethargic and ill?
At Calendar, we’ve launched a fitness challenge to encourage everyone to engage in more healthy habits. The healthy competition motivates everyone to lose weight, exercise more frequently, and eat healthier.
You can do this within your organization through leaderboards and dedicated Slack channels to egg everyone on. You could also provide healthy snacks and gym memberships. And, instead of the traditional conference room meeting, hold more walking meetings.
6. Don’t lose sight of the big picture.
At some point, we’ve all been asked if we’re being productive or just busy? As a result, we lose focus and become disengaged.
To counter that, frequently remind yourself and your team that the work you’re doing does have a purpose, no matter how trivial a task may seem. It’s a simple enough way to reenergize everyone from the top and down and keep the eyes on the prize.
Related: Your Team Can’t See the Big Picture if Your Don’t Show Them
7. Call in the calvary.
Are there certain times throughout the year when your business is busier than others? For example, tax season or the holidays? If so, you may want to hire extra hands to help reduce everyone’s workload, such as interims, freelancers, or part-time, temporary workers.
While you and your team may still expect to put in long hours during peak seasons, bringing in additional help can keep everyone from getting burned out. Mainly this is because they don’t have to spend as much time on less critical tasks. And, they also have someone else to help them complete their tasks.
8. Take the 6-3-5 approach.
Sometimes, working in a group can result in conformity and fewer ideas. But, there will be times when collaboration is required. When this occurs, spark your team’s creativity by taking the 6-3-5 approach.
Also known as brainwriting, this is where you divide your team into mixed groups. Each group consists of six people, asked to write down three ideas in five minutes on a worksheet. After five minutes, each person passes their ideas to the next person, who will add another three ideas. Continue the process for six rounds or until the sheet is full.
When completed, you should have more than enough fresh and diverse ideas to build upon.
9. Shake things up.
Sometimes we lose steam because we get stuck in a rot. Whenever you notice this, shock the system a bit. For example, let employees work on different responsibilities. Allow them to work somewhere else. And, permit more flexible schedules, even if it’s a 4-day workweek.
Related: Stuck In a Rut? Here Are 15 Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Bad Situation
10. Go beyond the workplace.
I don’t mean prying in your employee’s personal lives. After all, there needs to be clear separation and balance between work and home. But, there are some ways that you can help your team maintain this balance.
You could allow them to bring in their pets to work. Since they’re not worried about rushing home to take care of their four-legged friends, they may be willing to stay longer. Pets are also helpful in reducing stress.
You could also invite family members to work events so that they can spend quality time with their spouse while maintaining work obligations. You may also consider doing things like hiring a cleaning service or signing them up for a food delivery service when employees are crunched for time, like if they just had a baby.
11. Use setbacks as learning opportunities.
Don’t freak out when someone makes a mistake. I know that it can be stressful and infuriating. But, is that going to fix the problem? Will that foster a positive and collaborative work environment. Of course not.
Instead, use mistakes and setbacks as learning opportunities. For instance, as opposed to belittling your employees, ask them what went wrong and how they can improve. Find out what you can do to help them succeed. Maybe you have to work on your communication skills.
Not only will this keep your team energized, but it will also encourage them to grow and hold themselves accountable.
12. Help your team protect their time.
Finally, we get drained of energy because we lack the necessary time management skills. That may sound obvious. But, we’ve all been guilty of this. For example, we devote too much time to a less important task that could have been delegated. When we do get around to a priority, it’s after our prime biological time.
While it’s not expected of you to solve all of your team’s time management issues, there are ways to help. Sit down with them and share some time management tips like how they can prioritize their time. You could also stop scheduling unnecessary meetings and find out if they’re at full capacity before assigning new tasks. Finally, break the habit of annoying your team when they’re off the clock — that means not sending them a flurry of emails on weeknight and weekends.