Team Building in a Down Economy

During difficult economic times like these, a manager's instincts may be to re-think sales goals, expansion plans, travel budgets, even employee perks such as holiday parties or incentive bonuses.However, company leaders can become so focused on managing their way through tough times that they may neglect boosting the morale of their employees.

Meanwhile, employees focus inward. Many fear possible layoffs, hiring and pay freezes, vastly increased workloads, ability to pay their child's tuition or family medical bills, loss of value in their house and 401K, or their spouse's job loss. Office gossip about the company's financial health can make stress levels soar higher.

All these factors can place a terrible burden on employees, greatly affecting their job performance. Productivity dips, sick days increase and morale plummets.

While it's tempting to become more conservative with budgets and cut back on things considered non-essential, the morale of your employees and the health of your teamwork do not belong in the "non-essential" category. Rather, they are your principal resource for surviving the downturn and being among the first to re-emerge in the new competitive landscape.

It may be more important than ever to invest in team building during tough times. Yes, do it affordably. Yes, do it in a way that doesn't take a full day's productivity away when everyone already has too much to do.

But do it.

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