Working to not be overworked: How to keep team morale up during busy times

Being a part of a small team has its perks: our relationships are deeper, we adapt to new projects together, and if you’re a new hire, mastering coworkers’ names is a breeze.

However, when there’s only a few of us to share the load, we can become extremely busy at a moment’s notice—leaving everyone feeling stressed and overworked.

Recently, “burnout” became an official medical diagnosis. As the person in charge of culture here at Blue Daring, I try to keep team morale high when we get really bogged down. Whether your team is big or small, here are a few ways you can take care of your people during high-stress times.

01 | Check-in

Deadlines are important. But we can’t forget that behind the hustle, employees are also humans. So here’s a simple exercise: ask everyone how they’re doing. Checking in can happen many ways; here at Blue Daring, we start our team meeting with everyone saying one word to describe how they are currently feeling (and we encourage honesty). This helps us to not only connect with each other, but also identify who has a lot on their plate, and follow up privately with them later.

02 | Check out

Studies show the top 10% of productive employees are such because they take breaks often. Encourage your team to step away from their work to help reset. From allowing everyone to take a 15-minute break, to booking self-care services for the office, or even taking a half-day to do a fun, team-building activity, you can help your team recharge and be ready to work harder.

03 | Bend with them

Being flexible with employees’ work schedules can help them manage their stress levels. Allowing flexible hours and work locations means they can find a balance in their lives, and work smarter. Alleviating commute stress and allowing people to work from home every now and then will show your people that you trust them and care for their well-being.

04 | Know your limits

All the breaks in the world won’t help a team that is simply overcommitted. If you are in a leadership or management position, be mindful that the workload you are committing to will impact the entire team. You want your business to be successful, but if you burnout your people, the quality of the work will suffer.

05 | Strike a balance

As well as knowing when you’re working too hard, it’s also important to acknowledge when you’re playing too hard. Too many team outings or check-in meetings booked in a week can also slow down your team and stress them out even more.

Everyone benefits when their organization succeeds, but as leaders, it’s important to look out for the people looking after your vision. A happy, stress-free team will, in the long run, be more productive and enthusiastic about their work.

Keep the passion for their job burning, and their burnout at bay.

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