Burnout is like the big bad wolf of any work environment—you never know when he’s going to come along and try to blow the whole house down. But in my years as a business leader, I’ve learned there are plenty of effective ways to keep that wolf at bay. I’ve spent a lot of time learning how I can provide the most effective support system for my team, and what I’ve discovered is that fostering play and providing unique opportunities for insight makes a world of difference in performance and job satisfaction.
At in2itive we live by the tagline “Work Hard, Play Hard,” because we know how much one can feed into the other. We know that getting together in a relaxed social atmosphere, where everyone can let their hair down a bit, goes a long way toward helping teammates understand and empathize with each other, and that ultimately contributes to a more effective team back at the office.
I’ve also come to realize that these relaxed moments of enjoyment are also ideal opportunities to provide some education and insight, because this is when people tend to feel the most receptive to learning.
A great example is in2itive’s annual employee retreat. We shut down for two days to focus only on each other—
the personalities, personal lives and workplace roadblocks that surround us every day
—and then use that time to reconnect, refocus and even retool our approach to the standard workday.
It’s in the playtime aspect of our retreat that the team is able to reconnect and largely refocus; we’re not all nose to the grindstone and scrambling toward deadlines, so we can pay more attention to those who are usually just on the other end of a call or an email. And when everyone is settled in and feeling good, that’s when we take advantage of the opportunity to share testimonies and industry insight through internal and guest speakers.
A new and relaxed frame of mind is really the perfect setup when you’re working to motivate and educate people.
You know the old saying, “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected”? It’s true. And at an event like the in2itive retreat, my employees have an opportunity to see how much they are appreciated by both our leadership team and each other, and that feeling of appreciation and mutual support feeds into a powerful sense of positivity that lasts long after the retreat and is sensed by clients as well as peers.
So whether it’s a two-day retreat or a simple two-hour potluck, find a way to bring your people together in a context that’s easygoing and relaxed, where playtime is encouraged and learning becomes easy. I promise the wolf won’t bother coming around.