Spring cleaning isn’t just a useful concept to get you clearing off your desktop or (finally) cleaning out your email inbox. It’s also a good springboard for you to brainstorm ways to help your team hit the “refresh” button. After all, by the time most companies hit the middle of the year, their teams are probably feeling a little stretched and strained.
What causes the midyear momentum slowdown? Often, it’s attributable to a number of factors, the first of which is lack of time off. Even if your company has a generous vacation day schedule and PTO policy, many employees probably haven’t availed themselves of a week or more off since at least the end-of-the-year holidays. In other words, they’re feeling the stress that comes from the constant grind.
Another reason for team ennui is the pressure to meet all the goals and initiatives set in January. If the team starts to backslide or is woefully behind expected figures, stagnancy can start to settle in. This only causes everyone to fall further behind, becoming a vicious cycle.
Rather than allow your best assets—your trusted employees—to become frazzled and frustrated, conduct a little “spring cleaning.” From your processes to your resources, making changes can reset everyone’s attitude, performance, and productivity. Below are a few recommendations to help you launch your cleanup operation:
1. Bring everyone on the same page.
You want to be a transparent leader, but it’s tough to keep everyone in the know. Between winter and summer, so much can happen. And you might find that some of your people know more than others. Not only can this lead to hard feelings, but it can also lead to a misalignment of missions and growing mistrust among your workforce.
To correct waning communication, Nicole Durham, marketing director at Enertia Software, the leading developer of integrated enterprise solutions for the upstream oil and gas industry, suggests scheduling times when leaders and workers can meet up, share information, and discuss issues. As she explains, her company hosts monthly town hall meetings. The impetus for the meetings started during the pandemic, but they have become a major part of Enertia’s culture.
“Bringing everyone together once in a while is key,” Durham says. “We not only review goals during the meetings, but they are also great opportunities to share good news and reminders of objectives met that are pushing toward our annual momentum.” As an added way to ensure all team members know their importance, Durham plans outings, events, and get-togethers to build camaraderie, let off a little steam, and invest in the emotional well-being of her employees.
2. Put measures in place to beat burnout.
For American workers, burnout isn’t just a possibility. It’s a startling, difficult reality for 59% of employees, per a recently released Aflac report. Of course, you’ll want to intervene if you suspect that a member of your team (including you) is struggling with burnout. But you can also use your “spring cleaning” to look for ways to remove any barriers to optimal mental health for your workers.
For instance, you might want to take a page from Seth Casden’s book, the founder and CEO of materials science company Hologenix. Since his company has a mission to help people improve their lives, he tries to get rid of all the things that make his people feel overworked. To that end, he’s structured the company’s benefits to offer what he calls “periodic relief” so employees can get care when they need it. He also makes sure that his workers have space to recharge.
“We create opportunities for people to get back to a healthy balance by enjoying and participating in their lives outside of work,” Casden explains. “We observe, as a company, more holidays than average. In addition to our vacation policy, we also have week-long breaks in both the summer and winter for the team to collectively check out, refresh, and ensure that they feel valued as people.”
3. Invest in the latest tools.
Dated technology isn’t just difficult to work with. It can lead to constant troubles for your team. If you’ve ever tried to get something done on an aging computer with slow load speeds, you can relate. Yet, far too many workers (maybe including yours) have to make do with technology that was probably outdated sometime in the last decade.
Though it requires a financial commitment to bring all your technological tools and systems up to speed, it can pay off. First, your team will be rewarded by being able to actually streamline their work and potentially be significantly more productive. Second, you’ll be giving your employees the chance to beef up their skills. SHRM reporting shows that nearly half of workers are eager to improve their on-the-job capabilities. By helping your team learn a different system—as long as it’s needed and not superfluous—you’ll be offering them professional development opportunities.
Of course, if you have remote employees, you may want to take time to see if they’re working on antiquated equipment. According to GroWrk, only 38% of organizations give their virtual employees a special work-from-home stipend. Perhaps now is a good chance to send devices to your remote team members or offer everyone money to cover part of their internet bills. Yes, it’s money spent upfront for you, but your employees will appreciate the gesture. Additionally, it could reinvigorate them to carry on past the warm-weather months.
Your team has to work year-round. Instead of allowing them to fall into the midstream slump, take some measures to give them a chance to restart their engines. Then, push ahead together to make the next six months even better than the last.