Many of us can attest to the fact that job burnout is far from a myth. It’s a very real condition that can affect even the most passionate of employees out there. When more effort is being put into accomplishing professional tasks than is being funneled back into well-being and self-care, it doesn’t take long for motivation to begin to fade. At the same time, exhaustion levels typically rise.
While individual burnout can be difficult to handle, team burnout is just as worrisome. Working as a part of a team can seem like a completely supportive and collaborative setup from the outside. However, when individuals on the team are struggling with burnout, worrying about how it will affect others in the group can further add to the stress. The result tends to be a group feeling of distress with a lack of motivation soon to follow. The symptoms can eventually be disastrous to a team’s success if completely ignored in the long run.
So, how can we counteract the effects of a team dynamic that’s bordering on burnout? The solution might be simpler than you think. Whether you’re managing a team, or you’re part of a group struggling with collective feelings of exhaustion, reigniting inspiration and team engagement alike often starts with small steps.
1.Make it a Point to Recognize Personal Milestones
A feeling of efforts being futile, or leading nowhere significant, is often one of many factors behind team burnout. When this happens, it’s a sure sign it’s time to switch focus.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of exclusively celebrating group wins in a team setting—especially at work. When those wins seem out of reach, the opportunity exists to refocus your group by highlighting individual milestones instead. These are worth celebrating as well!
Milestone celebrations could be birthdays, an anniversary, an employee accomplishment outside of work, or even an achievement in one of your team member’s families. No matter how big or small the milestones may be, getting everyone together to celebrate a win that has very little to do with work life can be wonderfully refreshing.
Feel free to make it a big deal complete with cake, decorations, and more. It gives everyone time to move away from work issues and refocus on personal accomplishments instead. There tends to be a general sense of appreciation, fun, and good energy that comes with even a small celebration like this. That’s something that could go a long way when it comes to reigniting team engagement and morale moving forward!
2. Change Up the Scenery
When someone experiences individual burnout, changing up their surroundings can help refresh their perspective. The same can be said for team burnout.
If you notice your teammates floundering when it comes to motivation, taking things to a new place can be the key to boosting everyone’s mood and outlook. Consider setting aside time on the calendar to get out of the office and do something as a team that has absolutely nothing to do with work.
Teams that are made up of outdoor enthusiasts might want to look at activities like hiking, biking, rock climbing or even getting out on the water if that’s an option. Teams that prefer indoor activities could go to a movie, hit up a coffee shop, or see a live theatrical performance together.
Do keep in mind that this is not designed to be a strictly team-building exercise! In this case, it’s purely about getting out of the office and letting go of stress. It’s a chance to enjoy each other’s company far away from the parameters of the company itself. Hopefully, the result comes with a renewed sense of inspiration upon return to the office.
3. Invest in Some Matching Gear
This one might seem corny at first, but it actually works. Just like professional athletic teams dress in uniform to create unity and a sense of group identity, investing in swag for your team can do wonders for boosting morale as well.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be as intense as a full uniform to make an impact. Receiving free and matching hats, t-shirts, coffee mugs, or even carrier bags can be a fun surprise for a team that’s burned out. These gifts can also be good reminders that they’re appreciated and that the work they’re doing is noticed. Make sure the items are useful and give employees reasons to use them well into the future. If you hand out coffee mugs, adding in a stop at the local coffee shop as a team is always a welcome addition.
Small Steps to Positive Change
The effects of burnout don’t simply disappear overnight. This is as true for individuals as it is for teams. However, taking time to mindfully incorporate strategies to reignite your team’s inspiration and engagement levels is always a good place to start. Give these a try and see if that burnout eases ever so slightly. Your team can only benefit from the efforts you make!
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