It's hard to stay up in down times, but it's crucially important
to the health and success of individuals and organizations.
During bad times, most people cut back, do less, and
dispense with frills and many pleasures.
Managers do the same thing. They curtail the
coffee, bagels and donuts, and stop having the Friday afternoon pizza
parties. They also eliminate needed equipment, like cell phones and printers.
Consequently, at the very time when people
need to nurture themselves and be nurtured, they are deprived and made to
What's the solution to staying upbeat, while
being conservative with resources? It is to recognize the importance of
pleasure, fun and laughter to morale. Both individuals and managers need to
sort carefully and keep those things that allow for the maintenance of good
morale. Eliminate big unnecessary expenses, but keep what really matters in
your day-to-day life. Sometimes spending saves in the long run.
* Take care of yourself even if you think all
your time should be spent job hunting, earning money or worrying.
* List everything you do and buy that are not
essentials. Prioritize the list in order of how much personal pleasure each
of these gives. Add the cost of each item. Eliminate those with the lowest
priority as well as the expensive ones with only medium priority.
* Ask loved ones to make similar lists and
the same decisions.
* Consider small pleasures and add some to
your weekly routine, such as walking on the beach, bubble baths, basketball,
playing with your children and playing board games.
* Increase exercise and particularly time
outdoors, walking, running, swimming, playing golf or tennis, etc.
* Don't punish yourself for being caught up
in the recession. It's not your fault and you should not feel less about
yourself because you are out of work or experiencing a loss of status. You
haven't changed, the situation has. Don't confuse the two.
* Don't associate with people who make you
feel worse. If you have no choice, such as with a parent, child or spouse,
let them know how they make you feel. If necessary, get a few hours of
professional help to enable you to work out these issues with those you love.
* Recognize the importance of keeping morale
and motivation up among your employees. Do not be penny wise and pound
* Meet with employees regularly in small
groups to discuss feelings and concerns. Be as honest as you can, while at
the same time being relatively upbeat about the future of the company.
* Look at large expenses, such as first-class
travel, expensive cars and extravagant trips and determine which you can
eliminate or do less often.
* If your company has very high salaries,
bonuses or commissions for upper managers, find a way to reduce them and let
employees know you have done so.
* Maintain those small perks that make people
feel good. In particular, never take the coffee, bagels and donuts away.
Perhaps you need to have the pizza parties once a month, instead of once a
week, but continue them.
* You might even add to the small perks to
* Create incentive bonuses for success
instead of automatic raises.
* Streamline systems and improve processes
with your workers, so they can work smarter with less.
* Show people you care in other ways, perhaps
by allowing more flexible time for those working so hard to keep up with the
In short, manage your morale and those for
whom you are responsible by recognizing the importance of communication,
caring and pleasure. Be selective, but do not deny yourself or others with
things enabling them to continue to get out of bed in the morning and look
forward to the day, the week and their lives.