14 Activities to Keep Your Team Motivated When They’re Stuck in a Rut

People eating pizza in the office

High morale can ensure your team stays motivated and engaged through the “daily grind.” From hosting virtual happy hours to organizing an escape room outing, the effects of team-building activities can strengthen the bonds between teammates and create unexpected benefits within the workplace. This more collaborative work culture can lead to a more diverse set of solutions leaders might not have anticipated.

Below, 14 members of Young Entrepreneur Council shared their top-recommended team activities for keeping everyone motivated. Follow their suggestions to take a more proactive approach to company-wide team building, even when people feel stuck in a day-to-day rut. 

Q. What’s one exercise or activity that keeps your team motivated even when stuck in a day-to-day rut? Why do you think it’s effective?

1. Decision-Making

I like to involve my team in the decision-making process whenever I can. If that’s not an option, I let them know that I’m open to hearing their ideas and input. Encouraging self-initiative and letting your employee take on a project and run with it always motivates them to work harder. It’s all about making them feel more involved. – Benjamin Rojas, All in One SEO

2. Daily Standups

These force everyone on the team to have an impact. Sharing your previous day’s deliverable, your plans for the current day, and your blockers put you in the position of having to think critically about how you’re delivering impact and value for the organization. Not to mention, it allows employees to transparently communicate to their teammates. It’s simple but very effective. – Tyler Quiel, Giggster

3. Celebrating Wins

This is important for many reasons, but one is that it helps the team have an accurate assessment of their progress. Of course, this is only possible if you celebrate big and small wins. Completing a project and celebrating it can be a big motivator. It helps your team look above the day-to-day grind to the bigger, more exciting goals ahead. Celebrating wins helps make losing uncomfortable. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

4. Breakout Rooms

With Zoom, I saw the most employee engagement when we started using breakout rooms. We had incredible feedback that our staff really enjoyed the small breakout rooms of four to six employees for 10 minutes each. They used questions that I had come up with and played a fun game to determine who the moderator would be. This was free but created a lot of team engagement and motivation. – Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc

5. Unstructured Team-Based Activities

Fun and engaging team-based activities or unstructured conversations help break up the day and make people look forward to interacting with their team members. Friendly banter, contests, themes, and even online multiplayer games are all very effective! – Boris Rozman, Career Matching Platform

6. Doing Nothing

A “Do Nothing Day” sounds counterintuitive, but it can work. Let your team know that on a certain workday, they’ll be doing nothing. They can bring video games or they can just sit around and talk about whatever. The day is totally up to them. This activity will help get them out of any rut they may currently be in because it’s a creative respite from their typical day-to-day work. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

7. Games and Simulations

We have random games and simulations once in a while to have better camaraderie and gain extra confidence with our tasks. We see to it that the games are fun and definitely helpful to earn trust with one another. This also allows the team members to have better synergy and gauge how much they know about their roles. Games are definitely a must-have activity for everyone. – Daisy Jing, Banish

8. Team Retreats

I’m a huge proponent of twice-yearly team retreats to break up the monotony of the work schedule. We always get out of our comfort zone and do something physical as a team, from ax throwing and pool to old-fashioned arcade games and roller skating. Inserting joy and energy into the workplace is easy when we are all on the same level learning together, and it makes for great laughs and memories. – Ashley Sharp, Dwell with Dignity

9. Working Lunches

To motivate your employees, you can set up out-of-office work lunches. Sometimes all you need to refresh your mind is a change of environment. Staying in the same office day in and day out can easily reduce your team’s motivation, so encouraging a change of pace can help them feel rejuvenated and get out of a rut. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

10. Education and Training

One way to mix things up and still maintain productivity is to provide your team with educational material and training. Learning new things can create a pleasant change in one’s mind. Plus, it ends up benefiting everyone since your team members learn new things that they can apply to their work and help the company grow. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

11. Time Off

The best way to keep your team motivated is to allow for flexible time off. There will be times when people on your team just need to take a few days to rest and recharge. Employees who are allowed to do this without feeling like they are falling behind tend to perform better than those with limited PTO windows. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

12. Interest-Based Learning

I like to encourage our team to take online courses that interest them. One of the benefits of our company is that we have a library of courses that we’ve paid for and categorized for our team. I believe that giving our employees this option means they have the tools they need to learn and thrive, which can help keep them from feeling like they are in a repetitive rut. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

13. Changing Teams

I like to cross-train our team and let people switch positions when they need to mix up their workday. I’ve found that this strategy keeps everyone sharp, productive, and happy. Doing the same thing every single day can get repetitive. This little refresher is just the thing to bring back the spark in your team. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

14. Exercise

Whether you get up every hour and do a quick walk around your office or house or you take a longer walk during your lunch break, walking is essential to staying motivated and healthy. When you’re stuck working indoors all day, getting some sunshine and vitamin D by stepping outside for a brisk walk can make you happier and more productive. – Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

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