5 Ways to Re-energize Your Employees
The average American works more hours than anyone on the planet, takes fewer vacations, and retires at a later age. Wow. No matter how driven you are, that is sort of depressing. We are literally working our lives away. Hope you love your job!
In fact, most of us don’t. There is plenty of evidence that Americans are overstressed due to them being overworked. In one study, more than half of employees reported they don’t have time to think creatively or strategically, have little time to do what they enjoy, and don’t have opportunities for learning and growth. Nearly half say they lack positive energy or the ability to balance work with home life.
What can companies do to foster a better work experience? Here are five ideas sure to get your employees fired up.
5 Ways You Can Re-energize Your Employees
1. Let them take breaks. Researchers believe most people can only focus on a task for 90 to 120 minutes at a time and afterwards, a 20-30 minute break is required to get the renewal to achieve high performance for the next task. One interesting method is the Pomodoro Technique where you set a timer for 25 minutes and commit to focusing on one task only until it beeps. Then it’s time for a break. Repeat. With or without a timer, encourage your employees to take breaks every couple of hours and you might find productivity, as well as job satisfaction, greatly improves. Get some fresh air, play ping pong, or just chill in the break room and have a social conversation with a coworker.
2. Designate the end of the work day. When the boss stays until the wee hours of the night, employees often feel they should too or risk appearing lazy. Instead, set the precedence that everyone is to leave the office after working 8 or 9 hours. Encourage them to have a social life, be with their families or take the time to do what they enjoy. Schedule meetings earlier in the workday, so there isn’t a chance they’ll keep people at the office after hours. If possible, be flexible as to how employees can manage those 8-9 hours. As long as they work a full day, maybe they’d prefer to come in at 10 am and work until 6 or 7.
3. Make it easy to take time off. Sometimes employees dread vacations because of all of the preparations they must make before they leave and the massive amount of work they have waiting for them when they return. Offer them a simple way to notify coworkers of their impending absence, like with office management software. Office management software can simplify the vacation scheduling, provide ample warning before the absence, and during the absence so coworkers can quickly redirect to replacement staff who can pinch hit until the employee returns. It is more effective than a basic email “out of office” reply. It also enables managers and users to query which employees are scheduled to be absent so they can better prepare.
4. Reward output, not hours. Research shows productivity drops after a 50-hour work week and plummets after 55 hours. In fact, even those working 70 hours cannot prove any additional output that those who work 15 hours less per week. Longer hours are actually correlated with increased absenteeism, turnover, and health problems. Instead of praising employees who burn the midnight oil, praise their productivity and output. It will encourage employees to work more efficiently, improve self-confidence, and motivate those employees who feel like they can’t keep up with the grind.
5. Inspire growth. No one wants to feel like they are stuck in a dead-end job or are in a rut. Learning new things, both professionally and personally, is what keeps us motivated and excited about life. Offer employees opportunities to further their education with classes, training, and other professional development courses. Likewise, give them time to cultivate their personal interests and involvement in charities or community service.
Are You Pushing Your Employees Too Hard?
According to an article by American Express, here are 15 signs your employees feel overworked:
- Heightened emotional displays
- Lack of team mentality
- Habitual lateness
- Finger pointing
- Limited time for personal life
- More employees calling in sick
- High employee turnover
- Long work hours and weekends
- Decreased customer satisfaction
- Formation of cliques
- Lack of employee empowerment
- No time for the team to bond
- Employee suggestions going nowhere
- Everyone being treated the same
- No celebration of employee excellence
If you feel like many of your employees are overworked and under too much pressure to work harder, longer and faster, it’s time to change the company culture. Few people can maintain that pace for very long and still be effective.
Most employees are willing to work hard but there has to be a reward to sustain the effort. The reward may be working for a company who values their efforts over their time. A company who recognizes there is life outside of the office. A company who encourages growth and opportunity personally and professionally. Help them to love where they work and they just might prove quality is better than quantity.