As we enter the second year of the pandemic, companies are witnessing a serious decline in employee well-being. A recent study by meQuilibrium reveals that overall motivation has decreased by 30 percent and positivity is down 36 percent, while burnout has increased by more than 50 percent. A quarter of respondents said they had taken on new job responsibilities over the last 12 months. Among these workers, feelings of burnout more than doubled while motivation decreased four-fold.
This is a rallying cry for leaders everywhere to prioritize well-being, truly support their teams, and infuse a sense of energy and inspiration into the workplace. Employees who feel energized will be able to unlock their full potential and maximize their performance and productivity. But with burnout at an all-time high, how do you motivate the people around you? What strategy and tactics do you deploy to keep your team engaged? Here are seven actions you can take today.
1. Set yourself—and your team—up for success. This means your space, your day, your priorities, and your process. Organization is key to a clearer mind. From there, be strategic when setting goals and take a measured approach when assigning projects and increasing responsibilities. With ever-expanding workloads and growing pressures, it’s important to create opportunities for easy wins and to always be generous with feedback and recognition.
2. Take a break. Step away for lunch, go for a walk, take a 30-minute workout class or build in time for meditation. Check in with yourself emotionally, mentally and physically. When your body is signaling that you’ve reached a low point, take a moment to acknowledge it. Pay attention to what is happening both in the mind and in your immediate environment. Healthy habits start at the top, so ensure that there are regular breaks throughout your day and encourage your team to do the same. Self-care looks different for everyone and will vary depending on your needs on any given day, but one thing is certain: the time you invest in yourself will give you the biggest ROI.
3. Honor the workday and personal time. To recharge, you need to power down. As a leader, setting clear expectations is vital. When is your team supposed to work and when are they off? In making the most of each day, is everyone aligned on how to best manage their time? For some organizations, this may mean prioritizing based on what is closest to the revenue line. For others, it may mean having a clear filter through which to evaluate urgency and importance, two factors that don’t always overlap. With that understanding, people can have the peace of mind to unplug.
4. Make time for fun. Teams should have fun built into the workday with regular opportunities for connection and joy. One example is “Fun Fridays,” where every other Friday at lunchtime there is an interactive team-building activity. Engaging in games, competitions, art activities or virtual happy hours are great ways to humanize the workplace. Everyone loves to be entertained, and from virtual concerts to comedy and magic shows to game shows, the options are endless.
5. Cultivate connectedness. When we develop meaningful connections—to our colleagues, our managers, our companies, and our work—we thrive. It’s essential that leaders actively address all of these areas, starting with building relationships. Genuine, positive connection generates relational energy in an organization, which is transmitted between people and amplified on a group level. One individual’s positive energy can impact the motivation of others, and as a result of interacting with each other, people feel engaged and enthusiastic about new possibilities.
6. Infuse more energy into every day. First, take note of what is zapping your motivation: the activities that feel draining, the moments when you lose focus. Then, reach out to your team and empower them to share their experiences. What are people struggling with? Are there processes that can be reimagined in more efficient ways? Finally, create a plan with the goal of simplifying and streamlining. Can you cut down on Zoom meetings or keep them limited to specific days of the week? How about shortening each call by 5-10 minutes and reclaiming that time? Start with small steps and focus on one change you can make today—it will free you up immensely.
7. Inspire long-term growth. It’s vital that leaders invest in their employees and nurture their talent. This means providing a sense of purpose along with opportunities for learning, training, and career growth. Every team member has their own unique gifts, skills, and traits that they bring to the organization. How are you encouraging them to stay curious, discover, explore, and express their full potential? Do they have untapped strengths or passions? Curiosity is central to motivation, so finding ways to activate it is key. One idea to consider is conducting an Employee Superhero Workshop, which helps each person uncover their inner superhero. In addition, sharing success stories and consistently providing recognition is critical.
For more tips and solutions to increase motivation and energy levels at your organization, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.