Are you struggling with boosting team productivity and encouraging your team to engage with you more? Then you may be neglecting their needs all along. Today’s leaders know that nurturing and caring for the team enables each member to thrive, grow, and become more engaged at work. In fact, successful companies like Carrot.is, Hubspot, and Automattic are where they are today because of the investments they’ve made in creating a company culture that focuses and emphasises on team happiness.

While you can’t afford a team meet-up at Hawaii just yet, there are ways to nurture your team so they’re always in tip-top shape mind, body, and soul. Here are nine great strategies to implement:

1. Rearrange your workspace.

“Sitting is now being dubbed as the new smoking,” shares Fraser Callaway, co-founder of Refold. Instead of letting your team members sit in static workspaces for eight hours on end, encourage engagement, interaction, and collaboration by reinventing the workspace. You can add standing desks to the workspace, coat the walls with new wallpaper, or add new furniture to the office.

2. Encourage healthy eating and frequent water intakes

It sounds simple enough, but office workers tend to forget about their health when deeply engaged in work. As a result, they become sluggish and ineffective. Combat lack of nutrition by encouraging healthy eating through nutritious snacks, energy-boosting meals, and frequent water intakes.

3. Take essential breaks.

Stuck with a problem? Are a ton of ideas inhibiting you from taking the next step in a project? Art Markman encourages “productive pauses” to allow the mind to reset and offer insights taken from a change in view and perspective. Taking essential breaks may also prevent burns out and creative stress that could stop the productivity flow dead on its tracks.

4. Pack up and head out on team retreats.

Leading a remote team has its economic benefits, but an in-person get-together fosters healthy interaction and better relationships among team members. When possible, set time aside for team retreats where you get to interact with all of the members on the same level.

5. Provide opportunities for learning.

The key to innovation is being open to learning opportunities. Provide your team with access or passes to online or virtual courses that could teach them new skills or hone their existing skill sets. You may not know it, but that simple, inspiring TEDx video you shared last week may have made all the difference.

6. Attend local and nationwide conferences.

99U Conference 2015, The Instigator Experience, and HOW Design Live 2015 are just some of the many conferences and events you can attend to grow your relationships and further your knowledge about your industry. These local and nationwide conferences are great opportunities to network, inspire, and motivate your team to learn and progress as a collective unit.

7. Set time for one-on-one sessions.

A true leader works hand-in-hand with the team, and that means knowing exactly what they need, what their ideas and opinions are, understanding their concerns, and taking action. One of the best ways to learn more about your team is to set one-on-one sessions with them. May it be over coffee or at the office, devote time and attention to hear from and understand your team members.

8. Be compassionate in times of need.

As much as you want to ensure that everything goes according to plan, that’s just not the way life works. Emergencies and problems happen and at any point, which can affect any of your team members’ ability to focus on work. In times of trouble, show compassion and understanding by allowing your team to make the necessary adjustments they need to cope and get back on track.

9. Open the floor for creative side projects.

Side projects open the floor for all kinds of creative possibilities. They also boost work performance, increased creativity, and foster engagement within the team.

Whether it’s a new Tumblr or a prototype that may just become the next Gmail, encourage your team members to explore, work on, and share their creative side projects. They may not have anything to do with the company as a whole, but the experience, insights, and findings may lead to opportunities you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

10. Write and share a daily summary.

At TeamGantt, each member leaves a daily summary detailing what has been done for the day, what’s on tomorrow’s agenda, and what are the things blocking progress.

This simple yet daily practice keeps us informed of what everyone’s working on, and allow us to comment and suggest solutions when possible. It’s a great way to keep in touch and work as a team, even when we’re scattered across two continents.

On to you: What do you do to increase your team’s focus and progress? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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