Last April, we published a blog post entitled “Who Needs A Little Post-Busy Season Renewal” – but this year, we wanted to help you get a jumpstart on taking care of yourself and your team! It can be tempting to tell yourself that you’re just going to “tough it out,” and “plow through” to get to the end of busy season. But, April 16th could feel like a day very far into the future if you don’t take some pressure relieving measures well in advance!
Also, remember that along with the high level of pressure during busy season, there is also a high level of client contact at this time of year. With this increase in client “face time” comes the opportunity to build and/or further develop rapport, identify cross-selling opportunities and ask for referrals. You can’t be at your best, provide your clients the impression you have the interest and capacity to do more and make the most of these opportunities if you are stressed and tired. While the health and well-being of you and your team is crucial, keep in mind that your firm’s financial health could depend on your ability to effectively manage the volume and compression, too!
With approximately fifty-one days left in the “official” “busy season, here are some ideas that you (or your admin or HR staff) can incorporate fun, levity and stress-relief into your work days (and nights!). Undertake these ideas to help your team members not only survive – but to be at the top of their games during this busy season:
Relaxation and Renewal
- Bring in a masseuse to give 15-minute chair massages
- Have periodic stretching or dancing breaks
- Hold an in-house yoga or meditation class during lunch
- Design a “resting room” where people can go to take a break, read a magazine, or take a power nap
- Bring in exercise equipment like a treadmill or elliptical machine (exercise releases endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals, and is one of the best stress management techniques we know of!)
Fuel for the Body
- Bring in yogurt, fruit, bagels or muffins for breakfast
- Provide healthy afternoon snacks like fruit, yogurt, pretzels, or nuts
- Take orders and go on a morning or afternoon coffee run
- Bring in restaurant menus for team members who are working through dinner and order in
- Provide breakfast and lunch on Saturdays
- Have theme days with complimentary food, like a Mexican fiesta, Hawaiian luau, Italian feast, barbeque, etc.
- Have a potluck day where everyone contributes a menu item or host a chili cook off
Games and Contests
- Develop trivia games with prizes for the winner – you can create a theme such as “The Olympics” or “Songs from the 90’s”
- Have team members bring in their baby pictures and hold a contest to see who can make the most correct matches
- Play memory games or have “Survivor Challenges” like who can stand on one leg the longest
Convenience and Family Considerations
- Consider making a concierge service available to run errands like picking up dry cleaning or prescriptions
- Allow flexible scheduling, for example allowing those who consider themselves “night people” may be more productive if they come in a little later and work later hours
As Tamera Loerzel wrote in her September 16, 2009 blog post entitled “Programs to Inspire Your Team,”, Acknowledgment and Respect is one of the six major motivators for people in their careers. Acknowledging effort and hard work can go a long way, especially at times when pressure is at its highest and people may be being pushed to their limits. Here are some of the ways you can demonstrate appreciation to your team members:
- Send personal appreciation emails or hand-written notes to people for a job well done
- Stop by someone’s cubicle or office to tell them what a great job they did on a project
- Send group communications acknowledging team accomplishments or singling out a team member for an achievement in a staff meeting
- Implement a “wow” note program where anyone can submit someone’s name and accomplishment for acknowledgement and then read the “wow” notes at firm-wide meetings
- Give gift cards for exceptional performance
What are you doing to make this busy season at your firm less stressful and more fun? Are there some new ideas that you will try out this year? What are some old “tried and true” activities that have become a tradition at your firm? Please let us know what’s working and what you have planned for this year.
Resources with Other Ideas for Reducing Stress and Increasing Fun During Busy Season:
PCPS Seasonality Success Newsletter, October 2006, Volume #1 Issue 1:
PCPS March 2008 Brief:
Best wishes for a successful and fun –filled busy season!