It’s normal to be tired at this end of the working year, but this year has been a doozy! We’re beyond tired and many people are bordering on burnout. We’re also feeling the impact of remote work.
While there are many causes of burnout, one of the major contributors is the feeling of isolation and disconnectedness. Years ago, researchers noted that burnout increases the feeling of loneliness. With most of us spending more time working remotely, away from our colleagues, loneliness is a definite challenge.
Recent research via my LinkedIn Polls shows that 94% of professionals feel that team activities are an essential part of creating a close and collaborative team, yet only 70% take the time to do so.
This is one issue leaders can do something about. Keep the team united and reduce the feeling of isolation through team bonding activities and reduce the impact of burnout at the same time. The best news is these activities can be fun! It all begins with a weekly “happy hour” scheduled into the day. (Don’t do it after hours because that will intrude onto family time.)
Here are five ideas for team activities to keep your team engaged and help keep burnout at bay.
- Play games. Design a trivia quiz your team can join in with via Zoom or Teams. If you need ideas, look at something like Brightful to create the games for you.
- Face the music. Build a team playlist with everyone contributing some of their favourite songs. Choose a theme song for your happy hour. It instantly changes our mindset. If you’ve ever been to a conference where they play a specific piece of music to bring you back to the event after a break, you’ll know what I mean. In this case, the song will trigger the brain to expect fun. Add the songs to Spotify so everyone can have access.
- Bring a special guest to some of your team’s happy hours. For example, you could have someone come in to lead a meditation session for a few minutes. You might hire a comedian to entertain. You might even bring an artist to lead 15 minutes of creativity. Just be sure the tools people need are something they will have access to wherever they are. E.g., paper and pencil.
- Show and tell. Ask your team members to show something that is special to them and explain why. It’s a great way to get an insight into your people and learn more about them. E.g., show their favourite book or pet.
- Use the time to learn together. Enrol your people in a worthwhile workshop, such as Athena Leadership Academy’s Career Clarity Online Program. The modules can be completed online when each member is ready. Use your happy hour to discuss what each person has learnt that week.
Now, you might look at that list and think the activities are a waste of time, but you’d be wrong. Yes, they are light-hearted, and the beauty is that everyone can join in and have fun. However, they also strengthen your team relationships and reduce the feeling of isolation. You learn something about each person, and you’ll find connections you didn’t know existed.
Burnout is a real threat to business but by taking time out of the week to play with some new, interesting and fun activities, you can reduce the potential impact on your team. These activities are a mental and emotional boost that recharge energy and connection. Go on and play. It will bring amazing benefits.