Bring joy to the workplace when your team is just tired of it all

bring joy to the workplace

Your team is probably tired and stressed after months of living with stress, uncertainty, and fear. Try these tips to bring joy to the workplace into, and beyond, the holiday season.

We have been living with the global COVID-19 pandemic for about eight months (at time of writing). It’s a difficult and tiring situation for spa and hospitality employees. The industry has been through layoffs and massive budget cuts, and for those who are still working, the day to day can be a lot to deal with. Employees are working with enhanced cleaning and safety protocols, and under the stress of getting everything right in order to keep both themselves and guests (with whom they may be in close contact) safe. All while wearing PPE and, more likely than not, talking about and hearing about the pandemic all the time with both co-workers and guests.  

As a result, people are tired, fed up, and frightened as we head into the holiday season this year. Your team members are probably exhausted; tired of the pandemic, tired of the fear, and just plain tired. What can you do to bring some joy back to the workplace in what is traditionally a time of cheer, and into next year, without breaking the bank? Here are several strategies and ideas.

Tap into play, purpose and potential.

Researchers have identified three factors that motivate people: play (joy in the work itself), purpose (value of the impact of one’s work), and potential (when your work develops your potential). Keep these in mind when planning your team’s days. Create fun activities for play, illustrate the value of what you do for purpose, and encourage learning and growth for potential.

Do something for others.

Bring your team together to help those less fortunate through a charity or organization. This activity has multiple benefits that include helping others, boosting morale, and promoting teamwork.

Recognize and reward.

It’s always important to recognize achievements. Call attention when an employee does well, demonstrates a core value of your business, goes out of their way to make a guest happy, or helps another team member. Be free with praise, recognition, and meaningful rewards. People are happier when they feel valued.

Do little things.

Little gestures go a long way in hard times. It doesn’t cost much to order pizza or bring in some healthy treats once or twice a week. Most people appreciate free food. Take care of a small but tedious task for someone else, give gifts or gift cards, or treat everyone to wine at the end of a weekend workday. Only you know what your team will enjoy and appreciate.

Create a welcoming environment for the senses.

Go above and beyond on the holiday lights and sparkles. A festive atmosphere will help lift spirits. Play good music and scent the air to boost, energise, and comfort.

Fill your workplace with plants and light.

Research has found that exposure to nature may improve health and wellbeing, that there is a strong correlation between workplace daylight exposure and sleep, activity and quality of life, and that having plants around decreases stress levels. 

Avoid focusing on the pandemic.

Try creating designated times for discussing news and concerns, and discouraging employees from talking about the pandemic at other times. A fun and silly activity you can do together is create a list of alternative conversation topics and stick it to the wall.

Create fun.

For example: most people are familiar with the Secret Santa holiday tradition in which people pick names from a hat and give a gift to that person (often anonymously). The “secret friend” game just eliminates the “Santa” part, and can take things a step further. Everyone picks names from a hat and then does nice things for that person for a month. They can leave notes, snacks, and little gifts, and get creative with their own ideas. The secret friends are revealed at the end of the month (which does not have to be December).

Encourage friendships.

A study of more than 2,000 managers and employees in 10 countries found that people who had few friends at work felt lonely either very often or always and were disengaged from their jobs. And almost two-thirds said they would be more inclined to stay at their company longer if they had more friends. A separate study found that 70% of employees say having friends at work is the most crucial element of a happy working life. The best ways to encourage friendships include modeling them by being a friend yourself, and discouraging drama and animosity between team members.

Check in and pay attention.

What does your team need? Pizza, wine, and secret friends are great ideas unless they’re not what your team needs. Do they need time off or more encouragement? Are last-minute cancellations wreaking havoc with schedules?  Would sending more reminders and confirmation requests to guests help? Are people working too hard and do they need time off?

When a leader is tuned in, they often know what needs to be done. You’ll figure it out.


Spa Executive is published by Book4Time, the leader in guest management, revenue and mobile solutions for the most exclusive spas, hotels, and resorts around the globe. Learn more at

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