If there’s one thing we have learnt in the past 18 months it is to expect change! Be that in where we are working, how we are working or even when we can go to the supermarket, it is the one constant in our lives.
There’s been a lot of talk in the last few weeks about ‘languishing’ – The New York Times refers to it as ‘The neglected middle child of mental health that can dull your motivation and focus — and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being.’ We can see it in ourselves from time to time and in our clients, we still have energy, it’s not burnout, we don’t feel helpless just somewhat lacking in joy and a little aimless.
While it is important to recognise the ‘languishing’ we are feeling, there are also many things we can do to help our teams feel engaged and motivated and well a little more joyful!
Here’s 4 things to try which take little effort but wreak big benefits.
- Communication – it might seem too simple but communication is the key! In these uncertain times upping the communication is absolutely crucial – up to 4x what you would normally do. More phone calls, more Zoom but also the meaningful conversations, the ones that really matter. Checking in is key – asking if they are OK. A good way to get a real answer is to offer up a personal experience of your own, this makes the person more relaxed and open to sharing how they are really feeling. Acknowledgement that these times are being experienced by everyone in a completely different way, all of our journeys are unique, and how we handle them equally unique.
- Recognition – this helps employees see that their company values them and their contributions to the success of their team and the company overall. LinkedIn quotes that companies that have recognition programs have 31% less voluntary turnover than companies that don’t have any program at all. And no matter how good your program is, during times of change it is particularly important to concentrate on recognition. This doesn’t have to be just formal recognition but more making sure managers and colleagues are acknowledging a job well done via email, weekly zoom or group chat.
- See and share the big picture – as we mentioned before it’s very easy to get caught up in the day to day, it’s important for manager’s to share the big picture on a regular basis and to gain buy in from their team into this. This makes the team feel part of something bigger, recognised and motivated for the end goal.
- Encourage regular breaks – With increasingly blurred boundaries between work and home, it’s becoming very difficult for employees to ‘switch off’. They can also feel like they may be disadvantaged by taking time off, or not always being available as that is ‘the norm’. Leaders and managers who embrace the benefits of time off send an impactful message of balancing life and work. When leaders disconnect for a while, employees take notice and feel supported to take time off too, with no consequences.