Year-end fatigue is a reality for many of us and our teams. As the year starts to wind down, there’s a lot of pressure to deliver and meet deadlines. However, as we try to ramp things up and get things done, we can become even more exhausted and burnt out.
Managers can struggle to motivate their teams when they are suffering from year-end fatigue themselves too. To help you manage your own, and your team’s end-of-year burnout, here are some tips.
1. Manage your stress
You can’t expect your team to manage their stress levels if you aren’t managing your own. Employees will look to their managers for how they are expected to behave. If you are staying up until midnight every night answering emails, they might feel pressure to do the same.
To set a good example and alleviate stress, take regular breaks, exercise and get enough sleep. Meditation, mindfulness and activities like yoga have also been shown to be useful tools in dealing with stress and anxiety.
If you are taking care of yourself, you will be in a much better position to practice sound leadership in your team as you navigate the end-of-year crunch.
2. Deal with stress as a team
It’s important to bring a team together during stressful periods. You could take regular breaks together or even invest in learning to practice relaxation and meditation techniques.
Of course, this will depend on whether or not everyone in the team is open to these. Either way, by opening up a conversation around stress, and acknowledging its effect on everyone, you can start to come up with ideas on how to address it together.
3. Create a sense of psychological safety
One of the causes of burnout, at any time of the year, is not feeling supported or feeling like you can’t ask for help or support. As a manager, it’s important to build good relationships with your team members and colleagues so that you can ask for support when you need it.
It’s also important to facilitate this kind of relationship building in your team. Team members can then support each other, especially during tough times. While year-end fatigue affects everyone, team members might be having their own personal struggles too, which can hamper their performance.
Managers don’t need to become mental health professionals to navigate stress. However, by prioritising information sharing and getting to know one another, you can create a safe space where team members can ask for help when they need it.
4. Set clear expectations
Another reason why people burn out, in general, is that there are no clear expectations in their role, and feel like they need to overstretch themselves to prove they’re being productive. This is a problem when working remotely, as the lines between work and home life can blur.
Managers can reduce this type of stress by setting clear expectations, as well as creating a shared sense of purpose. If the team shares the same values, and a sense of connection, they will be more motivated to complete tasks because they understand how their tasks fit into the bigger organisational picture.
“Busy work” can create a lot of unnecessary stress in teams, especially remote ones. If a team doesn’t have a clear idea of what the priorities are, employees can spend a lot of time on tasks that actually aren’t critical. This leaves less time for tasks that need to be wrapped up before the end of the year.
As a manager, reduce unnecessary stress by outlining all of the priority projects and tasks that need to be completed. This allows for more focused work, and also some space to celebrate and enjoy end-of-year functions with colleagues before your business closes for the December holidays.
6. Be flexible
In a world of hybrid work and flexible work schedules, team members can struggle to balance professional and personal demands, especially with year-end fatigue. As a manager, you can create a much less stressful environment by working together with your team to meet priorities more dynamically.
By giving team members autonomy and flexibility, you can create a team culture that values getting work done well, instead of putting pressure on employees to tick tasks off a list without any concern for how their personal demands might impact their productivity.
Learn more about employee wellness and motivation
SACAP Global is passionate about equipping working professionals with the tools to thrive in evolving workplaces, which includes learning how to manage and motivate employees.
Do you have an interest in learning more about how to build a culture that incorporates employee wellness and motivation? Register for our upcoming micro-credential, Employee Motivation and Wellness.
In this short online course, you’ll learn more about how to build motivated and engaged teams, and how to work with HR and management structures to achieve organisational success. For more information, contact us directly.