Regardless of the business or industry you work in, there’ll come a time when business seems to grind to a halt.
One minute you’re juggling multiple projects, deadlines and workloads, the next you’re passing the time by browsing random Wikipedia articles and wondering how it’s still not even lunch time yet.
Perhaps it’s approaching the end of the year and everyone is seemingly winding down for the Christmas break? Or perhaps key clients or members of staff are on leave and projects are on-hold? Whatever the factors at play, when work becomes quiet, it can often lead to a dip in your employee’s motivation.
That dip in motivation can have a hugely detrimental effect on a business.
Once your employees start losing their motivation, you may find that their willingness to go the extra mile begins to evaporate. Regular tasks take longer to complete, quality of work begins to slide, and employees may also start to become disengaged with you as an employer.
Of course, as soon as things start to pick up again, you’ll want your staff to be on their A-game; ready to take on new challenges in their stride and start smashing their targets again. But if your staff have been experiencing an extended period of inactivity, you may find that your workforce has settled into that rut, and it may already be too late…
Now, it’s not uncommon to feel bored at work when things have gotten quiet. In fact, it’s estimated that between 30-90% of adults experience feelings of boredom on a daily basis. There are even some studies that suggest small periods of boredom can actually be good for you!
The problem is that when work dries up and boredom sets in, it can lead to a whole host of other negative outcomes if left unchecked – all of which are lethal to productivity and motivation. These can include mental fatigue, anxiety, aggression, depression, poor interpersonal skills… basically, nothing conducive for a healthy and happy work environment!
It’s for these reasons that its essential businesses help their employees stay motivated and engaged when things are quiet.
Whilst you might not be able to conjure up new work or projects out of thin air, there are several simple things you can do to keep your employee’s productivity levels high and help your staff stay ‘match fit’ for when workloads start to pick up again.
START TAKING STOCK
When things are quiet, it’s an ideal opportunity for a business to start taking stock – both literally or in terms of overall strategy.
It can be easy to lose sight of objectives, strategy or plans when you’re rushed off your feet. However, when times are quiet or you know there is going to be a break in workloads, you can spend time analysing what is working within the business or perhaps looking at what needs improvement, too.
Aim to look back at goals set you’ve set your employees over the course of the year and see if they’re on track to achieve them, or if there could be any potential barriers.
Quiet times are the perfect opportunity to spend time and communicate with your staff to review working processes or identifying if there are any positive changes that could be made to help them do their jobs more effectively. They may even have some great ideas of their own!
When you’ve got plenty of time to spare, there’s really no excuse not to.
RE-EVALUATE YOUR APPROACH TO MARKETING
Let’s be honest for a second: are your drops in workloads simply down to an expected or normal dip in business? Or is your blip becoming more of a regular fixture? Regardless, if things have been dragging on, it might be time to re-evaluate your marketing activities.
Now, it should be said at this point that marketing isn’t an exact science! But when times are quiet, it’s always sensible to see if your marketing activities could do with a bit of a refresh or perhaps evaluate what’s working and perhaps what isn’t.
Spend any potential downtime devising an alternative strategy or planning for your next big campaign. Not only will it focus the efforts of your staff, but you’ll also build renewed motivation and energy levels.
GET OUT THE OFFICE!
Did you know that the average British worker spends on average a bum-numbing nine hours a day sat down every day? And we’re not just talking about being just sat at a desk; it’s also the time spent sitting whilst commuting or whilst relaxing at home.
All this sitting down may be taking the weight off your feet, but a sedentary lifestyle isn’t great for a healthy lifestyle or a great working environment.
When times are quiet at work, try to avoid falling into the trap of being sat at a desk all day; so that means no more lunches at your desk or sitting browsing the web for hilarious memes to share (yes, we know we all do it when it’s quiet…).
Instead, take regular breaks to stretch your legs, clear your head and get some fresh air. If the needs of the business make it possible, why not work from home and embrace flexible working rather than commuting into the office? After all, is there really much point to commute into work everyday if you can quite easily carry out your regular tasks remotely?
Doing something as simple as going for a fifteen-minute walk every day can do wonders for both your physical and mental health. Studies have shown that regularly going for a walk can also help with your creativity and problem-solving – perfect for staying motivated and tackling the tedium of slow business days.
MAKE TIME FOR TRAINING
Slow work days are perfect for brushing up on key skills or expanding skill sets; so, see quieter periods as an opportunity to set new training objectives or tasks for you and your staff.
Setting goals and tasks around any potential training will ensure it holds everyone’s attention in the absence of regular work. Plus, getting your staff involved in team-based training can also be a great opportunity to encourage bonding and build a positive team spirit.
The great thing about staff training is that it doesn’t have to be expensive, either. If you’re having to watch the pennies and perhaps can’t stretch to a more formal training course, take the time to look for industry expos or talks.
These are generally free to attend, but will often have a multitude of industry talks taking place which you can attend and gain valuable industry insights at. They’re also a great chance to meet with potential new clients… so definitely worth investigating further.
CELEBRATE THE SMALL VICTORIES
When things are quiet, it can become all-too-easy to become downcast and de-motivated. Therefore, celebrating little wins can be instrumental in elevating moods and boosting motivation levels.
And the power of celebrating little victories at work shouldn’t be underestimated! Research has found that capturing those every-day small wins can enhance a worker’s motivation and positively influence an entire workforce’s performance!
Now, it’s obviously not necessary to throw a party every time there’s a little win in the workplace; but do take the time to recognise an employee’s achievement – especially when things are quiet.
This recognition can be in the form of a simple ‘thank you’, to maybe just a little reward in the form of a voucher or cinema ticket! Simply recording progress in some way helps to boost people’s self-confidence and can help boost motivation for when business begins to pick up again.