When employees are tired and thinking about getting home to their families (or to happy hour), energy and productivity can lag. An apt comparison? Senior spring, aka senior slump, when high school students stop working since they are so close to graduation they can taste it.
Employees who are already mentally “out the door” at 4 p.m. can have a negative effect on your company’s bottom line. Here are four surefire ways to boost energy, attention and employee engagement in the late afternoon and keep employees focused up until closing time.
Get People Moving.
If your staff seems super sluggish after lunch, encourage them to get their blood pumping. “Organize a 15 minute walk outside the building. Fresh air and exercise get the endorphins going and boost creativity,” says efficiency expert Andrew Jensen. Not only are brisk walks great for restoring focus, but they’ll keep your staff happier and healthier in the long run.
For employees who are daydreaming about dinner plans at 3:30 p.m., a healthy, complimentary snack can help keep their minds on their mission, and not their next meal. “Some employees try to go the full work day with only a minimal midday snack; they eat large breakfasts and very large dinners. Others eat large midday junk food meals, and their bodies work overtime to manage that intake. Both can significantly affect alertness, attentiveness, speed, and their ability to be productive,” notes Jensen. Try serving a healthy snack, like apple slices, low fat cheese and almonds, at your next afternoon meeting.
It seems simple, but a lot of employees forget to drink enough water. Or they load up on coffee or tea, thinking it will help them stay awake, when dehydration itself can be a major cause of fatigue. “Encourage regular water drinking by providing visible and easily accessible water coolers with cups,” says Jensen. If you’re an eco-friendly office with a sufficient budget, you might even invest in BPA-free water bottles for your team. For extra engagement points, customize the bottles with your corporate logo. The team who drinks (water) together, stays together!
Take the Temperature of the Room
No, we’re not talking about moods here but the actual physical temperature of your office. “If the temperature is too cold, employees will be too distracted to be very productive. If the temperature is too hot, employees will become drowsy,” says Jensen. If your team isn’t rushing to escape freezing tundra or a sweaty sauna, they’ll be more likely to focus on the task at hand until the end of your workday.
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