We all experience workplace burnout, even if we enjoy our colleagues, love our work, and feel comfortable and happy in our work environments. Whether you’re a developer who is heads down in code all day, a designer that needs to output a constant flow of inspiration and creativity, or a marketer caught up in statistics and analytics, we all need to find that moment or two of “exhale” during our days.
At Newbird, we think we’ve gotten this down to a science. Our core team works very closely together throughout the day, every day, on a wide range of very intricate projects. For many, this could quickly get tense and stressful pretty easily. However, we’ve figured out how to avoid burnout, increase production, and remain a happy and confident team. Simply by taking 2 – 3 quick breaks per day, using some of the following techniques:
Take a Walk
This is a pretty obvious one, as there is a variety of both physical and mental health benefits to walking. Taking a break to walk can clear your mind, give your eyes a break from your computer screen, and help get you to that coveted 10,000 steps per day benchmark. Even better, walking with co-workers can improve office morale and team building.
Newbird is lucky to have our home in the fabulous Tri-Main Center on Main Street in Buffalo, NY. Aside from being both a wonderful building and community, Tri-Main has long, industrial sized hallways which are perfect for walking to get the blood flowing. We take advantage of this “perk” often.
Impressing co-workers with your worldly knowledge of news and current events is literally just an email away with Daily Skimm from TheSkimm.com. As stated on their website, theSkimm is “making it easier for you to be smarter,” and it really does. These emails, delivered to your inbox each morning, give you a summarized version of important news stories from the day before. The ultimate goal is to give you as much knowledge as possible in a very short period of time, so you can easily discuss topics with co-workers in an intelligent fashion. Each summarized piece of news is linked to it’s specific source, so you can always read the story more in-depth if you desire.
Our advice would be to subscribe to the Daily Skimm, and then use your first 5-minute morning break to look it over each day.
A few weeks ago, our Senior Software Engineer, Ken, introduced us to a game called Quiz Panic, available for both Apple and Android devices. The app is a game consisting of general knowledge trivia, made to be able to play with friends or random strangers, and consists of a variety of game levels that keep things interesting.
When we need a break, the team all jumps into Quiz Panic to play a competitive game against one another. We’ve even set up a weekly tally board to track the employee with the most wins. A typical game of Quiz Panic lasts no longer than 2 minutes.
In doing this, it has improved our team’s chemistry, raised office morale (which was already pretty great to begin with), and has given us something to look forward to throughout the day. Not to mention it’s all lighthearted and in good fun, which can be a nice distraction from even the most stressful of moments.
Although we highly recommend Quiz Panic (it’s so much fun!), our advice here would be to find a competitive game app that all of your co-workers will enjoy. If trivia isn’t for you, there are dozens of apps to choose from. Let us know what you pick!
Generate Some Social Media Content for Your Company
We all need our social media fix throughout the day, if only as a few minute break to see what’s going on in the world.
At Newbird, we try our best to use these social media “breaks” as a means to grow content for all of our social media outlets. For example, a couple weeks ago I became inspired to show off my extensive collection of colored pens. The result was a well-liked, improvised Facebook and Instagram post.
Share a Ridiculous Music Video
If you and your co-workers need a good laugh, passing around a cheesy music video might be the quick “break” everyone is looking for. Luckily, there’s definitely not a shortage of these things to go around. Whether it be a cheesy music video from the 80s, or a DIY music video that has inexplicably become a viral YouTube hit, you can probably find a new one to watch every day without repeats.
Not only will you have a good laugh from the video itself, but you and your co-workers will probably be singing or humming the tune to each other all day long.
Ping Pong or Mini Basketball
Walking not for you? No problem! There’s still plenty of physical activities you can do at work that are fun, quick, and will get the blood flowing enough to overcome whatever burnout you might be feeling.
Currently, Newbird’s “lounge” area is home to a mini basketball hoop, used from time to time when we’re ready for a more active break. In the coming months, we plan to acquire a ping pong table to grow this little recreational area even more.
If you don’t have room for a ping pong table, there’s plenty of alternatives. Dart boards for example, take up very little space and are just as fun and competitive.
Watch a Sitcom with Co-Workers
The length of the average American sitcom, without commercials, is roughly 22 minutes long. This is the perfect length of time to watch on your lunch break. Even better, if you can find a show that you and your co-workers agree upon, your lunch break can turn into a full-on TV watching party. Watching an episode of a hilarious sitcom with your co-workers will not only boost your mood, but it will spark conversation with your team and really give you something to enjoy together.
At Newbird, some of our favorite shows to watch on a team during our lunch breaks are The Office, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – just to name a few. We’ve found that when we make time to laugh together as a team not only does it cure burnout, but workplace positivity grows and our output is even more substantial.
Play a Quick Board Game
Keeping board games around the office may seem counter intuitive, as for many employees there might be a strong temptation to spend a great deal of time immersed in the game, while not getting any work done. However, there are several board games that you can keep on hand in the office that are quick, fun, will increase overall team building, and you can play within a short 5 – 10 minute timespan. If you choose the right games, they could even help increase brain activity, so you stay sharp even while on your “break.”
My personal favorites include Boggle, Pictionary, Yahtzee, and Scattergories. An “abridged,” or one-round version could be played for each of these, and you’ll have just as much fun.
Ultimately, production should be the #1 priority of everybody’s day. At Newbird, we put our clients first, ensuring that individual needs are always met. We can probably assume that this is the case with most digital agencies.
However, we all need those few precious moments throughout the day to hit the “pause” button and recharge. For us, not only has using some of these techniques increased overall production output, but we have been able to grow our internal team chemistry and really get behind each other as a unit. It works wonders.
It’s always going to come down to what works best for you and your team. Once you get into a good groove and figure out that important balance to recharge and overcome burnout, we guarantee that you’ll grow strong as a team, output will increase, and work will be as fun for you as it is for us.