Weary Workers? Improve Employee Output for the Last Quarter

employee fatigue

Motivating people is difficult under the best of circumstances. But, motivating employees in the last quarter of the year feels damn near  impossible. While the company still has some serious targets to hit, your employees are…well…just going through the motions at this point.

It’s so bad, that your most enthusiastic salesperson doesn’t even seem to have the energy to pucker up a smile. In all fairness, your team started out strong, it’s just been a long year and the finish line is so close that they’ve shifted into cruise control. However, cruise control isn’t the gear that wins the race, is it?

So, how do you re-energize your weary workers? How do you get them feeling re-invigorated and striving for excellence once again? Here is our advice, to wring out their last bit of brilliance before the end of the year.

1 Break Down Your Big Goals Into Manageable Objectives

Getting employees to focus on big goals towards the end of the year is the equivalent of asking them to climb Everest in a day – it’s not going to happen.

A more effective way to work towards your long term goals is to break them down into manageable portions with targeted milestones. George Doran coined the term S.M.A.R.T. goals, which is an acronym that can be used to work towards measurable objectives:

SPECIFIC
MEASURABLE
ACHIEVABLE
RELEVANT
TIME-ORIENTED

Once you have distinguished what goals can still be achieved before the end of the year, communicate them to your team and hold everyone accountable for their success. Having a clear path to the finish line keeps everyone focused and on the right track.

2 Change Up Your Employees’ Surroundings

There is much to be said about making changes to your environment, and memory retention (as discussed in this study). Get your employees out of their slump and into a productive state of mind by moving the office furniture, enjoying a picnic outside or a lunch on you.

It’s not unnatural to feel stagnant in the office, especially when your environment hasn’t changed and your mind not stimulated for a long time. Get everyone moving and thinking differently. Perhaps even start sharing motivational YouTube videos to help spike enthusiasm.

3 Offer Work From Home Days / Flexi Hours

I’m sure many employees wish that their holiday period coincided exactly with their childrens schedule. As schools tend to shut down early in December, parents are left with no choice but to make alternative arrangements that can leave them distracted (let alone feeling guilty). Thus, hindering their focus and commitment to their work.

If your industry allows for it, consider offering work from home days, or flexi hours – especially at this time of year. As long as your business has the correct systems in place, there should be no problem in monitoring employee work. In fact, according to a recent study, working from home could see employees being far more productive than they ever were in the office to begin with.

4 Get Employees to Practice Gratitude & Self Praise

A great daily routine is to practice gratitude and be thankful for the things you have, as opposed to focusing on what you don’t have. Gratitude helps improve brain functioning by enabling better operation of the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for cognition, decision making and creativity.

In short, this puts us in a better mood, and motivates us.

Practicing gratitude can easily be incorporated into a work environment, and could be as simple as getting employees to state what they are grateful for in their personal and professional lives. Also, encourage employees to share something they have accomplished over the past week, and in return, give credit where it’s due.

5 Make Your Office a Centre of Learning

Part of the reason your employees may be running on empty is because they are not feeling stretched enough. This might seem ironic, since we have it pinned down to “reserve tank syndrome”. But, the truth is, humans are curious beings and learning new skills to better our abilities is something we strive for.  

Make your business a company of continuous education. Encourage employees to try something new or learn a new skill that they can feel good about. This can be something that improves their work process, something they can add to it, or something that will help them think about a task in a different way. Whatever it is, get your employees excited about new challenges to re-invigorate their learning spirit.

While it may be tempting to just leave employees at their current motivation levels, incorporating these subtle changes can help bolster them into meeting those final targets before 2019 kicks in.

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