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Cheer Leadership Tip 9 - The Timeout!

Take a random break from work and energize your team with a timeout (and this isn’t the one you use to put your three-year-old in a corner as punishment!). Recent studies show that those who give in to some kind of diversion or distraction once an hour perform better than those who just keep at it without a break. After a while, our brains numb out a bit to the constant stimulation, and we become unable to continuously treat the task as important. Taking a break allows us to come back to the job at hand with renewed energy and sense of purpose.

Ideas for this Cheer Leadership tip: Walk around the block, throw a frisbee in the park, play a game of solitaire or a video game, or anything else that allows your brain to “check out” for a few minutes. Get creative and have fun! Remember to email us at with photos of the ingenious ways your team decides to do this so we can share.

Did you know that the American Psychological Association’s David Ballard describes job burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.”

Job burnout is a very real epidemic in today’s workforce. In fact, a Gallup study found that 23 percent of respondents reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes. That means almost ¾ of the workforce has experienced burnout in some form or fashion! The impact and effects of burnout are very real and should not be dismissed - mental health issues, sleep issues, frequent illness, subpar job performance, loss of productivity, and an impact on personal relationships.

Luckily, there is a very easy way to help your employee start combating burnout before it becomes unmanageable. Encourage your team to take a short 5 - 10 minute break every hour or two. If you notice your employees aren’t taking a regular lunch break, encourage them to do so. That little nudge may be all they need, as one survey found that “nearly 20% of North American workers worry their bosses won’t think they are hardworking if they take regular lunch breaks, while 13% worry their co-workers will judge them. 38% of employees don’t feel encouraged to take a lunch break.” The benefit of refreshed and focused employees will be well worth the time away from their desks - improved performance, increased productivity, more creativity, increased innovation, and higher levels of engagement and loyalty. To some, it might sound counterintuitive, but taking short breaks to clear their head will keep your employees motivated and working toward personal, team, and company goals.

This week, I challenge you to challenge your take a break! Encourage them to take a few minutes every hour or so to step away from their desk and meditate. Or draw. Or listen to music. Or create a vision board. Or play a game of ping pong in the breakroom. Another idea is to create an easily visible/accessible list of ideas for those who may be struggling to find ways to “disconnect” for short periods of time (which is a sure sign they definitely need a break!).

FUN FACT: Some companies have taken the concept of the office breakroom to epic levels. For example, Airbnb has a kitchen outfitted with a marvelous chef who cooks lunch every day. When the lunch bell rings, it’s time for employees to take a break and gather round to rejuvenate with fabulous food served right on site. PopCap Games offers Razor shooters, video games galore, and private cell phone rooms.


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