In July we focused on how we as individuals can practice the 3rd Quarter theme of Relax & Reset. Today I want to share some thoughts around helping your team relax.
Although the summer is typically when we think about who’s taking vacation and when, we need to consistently keep how we can help our teams relax top of mind year-round.
Happy employees stay. It’s just that simple. If you’re having attrition issues, you especially need to explore what you can do to help reduce stress and prevent burnout. As leaders we often times are the worst examples of how to manage stress, decompress or unplug.
We’ve written about how our example and our unconscious celebration of overwork can send the wrong message. We need to unplug so our people do.
Here are 5 ways you can Incorporate Relaxation for your team.
1. Encouraging Use of Time Off
This may seem extremely obvious, but what I have learned as a leader and trying to manage my personal work exhaustion is that people don’t always effectively use their work benefits. Scheduling time off should be a regular discussion in your 1:1s with your team-members. Do they have something in the calendar for this quarter? A week off or a long weekend? If not, bring it up and help them prioritize that activity.
Some may have a reason they are stockpiling time off – an extended vacation, a soon to be new addition to the family or some other reason. The only way you can help them see it’s a priority for you that they take the time is to initiate conversations. For your team-member to take time off and really disconnect during their away time requires your help in getting back-ups established for the tasks they handle. Proactively ask them how you can help clear their schedule by reassigning work or establishing those back-ups.
Again, this is an area you need to lead by example – get your next “away” time booked. Be sure to encourage use of Time-Off throughout the year!
2. Communicate Expectations to Unplug
How often have you been guilty of working through breaks or eating lunch at your desk? Break and Lunch times should be an opportunity for your team-members to unplug, move a little and get in necessary “bio-breaks”. Lead by example, set the expectation for both your team and yourself.
With technology it’s so easy to never really unplug at the end of the day. Make it a priority for your team to unplug. If you are prone to work after hours, consider scheduling emails to go out the next day vs. real time when you are working. Emails from the boss at midnight unintentionally create an expectation that is the norm. Before pushing send, consider the message you are sending by the time stamp.
Because most of us now have email – personal and work on our phones. Give permission through leading by example to silence any apps that might ding such as Email, Chats, etc.
3. Inject Some Laughter and Fun
When you think about your team environment, when was the last time you had some fun and witnessed them really laugh? Laughter lightens the mood for everyone. It can break through stress and make work enjoyable.
An easy way to inject some laughter and fun is having an Icebreaker activity at meetings, especially when new members are present or you’re kicking off a project where different team-members are working together for the first time.
Even a funny Gif or Meme (that is work appropriate) can add a little fun in a work chat to lighten the mood. Decide what might be the best way to inject some laughter and fun and go for it!
4. Play Music
Depending on your work environment you might want to help everyone take a “brain-break” with a little music. Playing a song or two and encouraging team-members to at least get up and move around (dance if they are so inclined) can relieve some tension and provide a nice reprieve from a monotonous task.
When I facilitate virtually, I leverage YouTube to play music while sharing screen during breaks and lunch. You could also create a team playlist of music using a streaming app such as Apple, Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora or other. The next icebreaker can be that everyone shares their favorite “pick-me-up” song, and you create a playlist for your next Music Break!
5. Invest in Wellness Apps
A benefit some organizations have explored is investing in wellness apps for their employees. Last year we read the book The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness as part of our JennQuest Book Club. There is a Headspace App. Other Apps I’ve used or tried and you might want to explore are Calm, Breethe, Happier, Wellbeats, The Fitness App & Plant Nanny.
This investment is a great benefit for team-members and a demonstration that you care about the quality of their lives. An app that will help them find calm and relaxation is worthwhile investment because we are all more productive if we are well-rested and less stressed.
What would you add to our list of ways to help your team incorporate more relaxation? Tell us by becoming a site member and commenting below.