Now, you usually don’t associate zen with high energy, but I’m betting your startup has made for a high-paced, high-pressure environment that can lead to serious burnout for startup employees (which doesn’t lead to business growth, that’s for sure). Michael Olguin, president of Formula PR, gives us some advice on how to renew the balance and clarity in your workplace so your employees can keep the motivation strong and the energy high. The zen comes after.
Stimulate and Challenge
For us precious snowflake attention-deficit Millennials, keeping us stimulated and challenged is the key to keeping us around. Employees want to feel like their efforts are contributing to the growth of the company. Michael suggests challenging your employees to analyze their position within the overall vision of the company and let them intellectually contribute to company improvement. When you feel like your smarts are being recognized as significant to the success of the company, you’re more invested in and motivated about your job.
Get Your Employees Out of Their Comfort Zones
Doing something routine and comfortable can also be really boring; a little bit of discomfort has the potential to combat boredom. Michael says providing employees opportunities to take on new projects and responsibilities shows your confidence in what they can do and also takes them out of their comfort zone (but in a good way). They’re learning new skills and stimulating their brains. That’s never a bad thing.
Give Constructive Feedback
This is a big one. Employees want to to do good work, and by providing them with constructive feedback on what they can improve on (and what they’re doing right), will motivate them to produce more quality work. When you feel like your boss has got your back and wants you to improve, it’s hard to feel bored and disinterested.
Get Fresh Air and Get Home at a Reasonable Time
Many times when you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed and burnt-out, the best thing to do is to get up and get some fresh air. Or, go to the water cooler and talk to your co-workers about last night’s episode of The Bachelor. Michael says encourage your employees to get out of their work environment, even for a little bit, so they can disconnect, breathe and be re-invigorated.
Oh yeah, and that whole working smarter not harder applies here too. Staring at your computer for four extra hours when you’re totally drained doesn’t result in more productivity. Long hours, especially if you haven’t produced much, makes you pretty unmotivated and bitter. So bosses, let your employees get home to their kids if you sense the extra work and hours are taking their toll. QT with your spouse and kids can be pretty energizing, and can result in a much happier employee in the morning (especially if they got a little lovin’ the night before).
Startup culture is pretty motivating already; It’s young, fun and innovative. But the trick is to keep that energy and motivation up in your employees (and yourself!) so the zen of the workplace is achieved and the growth your startup is inevitable.