To get the most out of your team, you must help them rest.
You want the best results from your team. To achieve that, you probably push them to be as productive as possible. While some pressure is healthy, overdoing it could be damaging your team’s performance.
Setting an unachievable standard could be detrimental. Over 35% of employers commit this mistake when they strive for perfection. This pressure forces your team to overwork, which leads to worse results in the long run:
- Studies by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health found overwork correlates with health problems. Like: impaired sleep, depression, and heart disease. These make it harder to concentrate, causing decreased productivity.
- Research reported by Sarah Carmichael (Harvard Business Review) indicates the stress caused by overworking makes internal communication harder. Leaving your team more likely to make mistakes.
- Alan Kohll (Forbes) has shown insufficient breaks are the leading cause of job burnout. Leaving your team unable to concentrate and perform at their best.
Pushing your employees to be more productive does the opposite; causing burnout and reduced productivity. To overcome this, you must encourage a healthy work/life balance. After all, research by Korpela and Kinnunen found a healthy work/life balance increases energy levels and rigor over time.
1. Embrace “Flextime”
Every member of your team is unique and productive at different times. So why are you forcing them to work the same hours?
A recent study by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics evaluated 503,358 people and discovered the conventional work routine is not optimal. We are least productive in the morning and reach our peak at 1.30 PM. So why are we encouraged to start early, and eat lunch when we’re most productive?
According to Kristen Knuston (neurologist at Northwest University), our circadian rhythm dictates when we are most productive. For that reason, we all work best at different times.
Use this to help your team achieve a healthy work/life balance. Why expect your team to work eight hours, when they will only be productive for five? Instead, let them decide when they work by embracing “flextime.”
On most flextime models, employees are free to work whenever. Provided they meet goals, deadlines, and weekly hour requirements. Rather than procrastinating, they can go out during their non-productive hours. So, they can still go to their child’s soccer game in the middle of the day.
Focus on Productivity, Not Hours
Time doesn’t equal productivity. Some employees need the full day to achieve results, while others only need a few hours.
Adrian Gostick (Forbes) reports a lot of employees work long hours to impress their leaders. But that doesn’t mean much. Most are only productive for three hours and procrastinate for the rest of the day. Best-selling author Adam Grant puts it best:
“In complex and creative jobs, it makes little sense to pay attention to hours at all”
Rather than insisting they spend all day in the office, put a greater emphasis on productivity. Doing so will promote a healthy work/life balance. Provided they meet goals, they can then do whatever they want with the time they would usually be procrastinating.
2. Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
Adopting Flextime is a great way to give employees time to focus on themselves. But how can be sure your team are looking after themselves? They could be filling their time with personal stressors that contribute to burnout.
So what can you do to make sure your team is looking after themselves during their free time?
2a. Give them the tools
Not everybody has the means to live healthily. But doing so brings a range of benefits. Regular sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet have all been proven to raise stamina, improve mental clarity, boost the immune system and make us more engaged and productive.
To make sure your team can live healthily, create an employee well-being hub. One that provides things like: online fitness courses; online (and in-person) mindfulness lessons; and guides on dealing with stress and eating healthier.
2b. Give them Room to Unplug
With deadlines approaching, it’s common for staff to work through breaks or past home time. But that will lead to a decrease in quality. Researchers agree it leads to mental fatigue and burnout. To overcome this, give your team room to relax and switch off:
- Implement mandatory breaks. Having short intervals through the day to make a coffee or change scenery is a good way to reset and reduce stress levels. Knowing this, you could implement mandatory breaks – such as a five-minute walk every hour.
- Leave work at work. Remind employees they’re not expected to work at home. Cease communication and don’t give them access to work devices. Time at home is to relax, switch off and spend time with family.
2c. Bring home to work
Trying to maintain a healthy home life isn’t easy. To promote healthy family relationships, encourage your team to bring their home to work. A successful example of this is LinkedIn’s “Bring in your parents day,” where employees were invited to have family members visit.
Events like these let your team spend time with their loved ones. It’s also a great way to motivate your staff. According to research, being reminded of the people your job is financially supporting naturally motivates us to work harder.
3. Implement Business Software to Manage Your Workforce
Managing your team’s progress and making sure they are resting can be a challenge. How can you spot when they’re burned out? Or they’re at an unproductive point of the day and should take a break? To help, we recommend using FocusMe. This tool is managed centrally by you and will automatically run on your teams’ online devices. You can use it to:
- Track your worker’s usage. See how long your team is spending on each app and pinpoint their most used. You can analyze teams or individuals and monitor their behavior; their last online interaction, and when their device is in idle.
- Block the apps outlined by you. FocusMe will block apps and websites on your teams’ devices during hours chosen by you.
You can then use these features to support your team’s well-being. Possible suggestions include:
- Blocking work-related apps after work hours, so they cannot access them and are not tempted to work through the night. Doing so guarantees they switch off and relax.
- Blocking distracting apps during work hours. Doing so will help your team focus and achieve their goals quicker; meaning they have more time to relax after.
- Identifying when a member is least productive. If someone’s computer sits in idle at the same time every day, you could recommend they go home or spend time with family and come back later (rather than just procrastinating).