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Ali and Tam loved back-to-school shopping when they were kids —new pens, notebooks, highlighters, planners, oh my! During Ali’s summer trip to the UK, memories of school shopping trips returned as she browsed the window displays of stores offering school supplies kits for those eager to fill their backpacks. This energy renewal got Ali thinking: How do we build that same excitement in the workplace?
Here are a few reasons why “back-to-school” vibes are successful. What can businesses learn from school and adopt?
The benefit of a break: The summer holidays are truly a time when it is OK to play. Kids fill days perfecting their cannonball jump into a pool, not solving that algebra question from last year’s final exam. Companies, too, can promote play and real downtime by incorporating a culture of taking time off, whether that is for vacation, a rest day in between big projects, or incorporating play at work through special events, such as a company-wide Hackathon or offsite. (Just remember to leave day-to-day work out of the equation in those scenarios.)
A clean slate: New pens and notebooks symbolize something important: nothing has been written yet. This sense of newness can be replicated when creating a fresh template to kick off a new project or season. In a more tangible sense, you bring “back-to-school vibes” into your work when you refresh your home office. A new plant or ergonomic mouse can bring life to your home office.
A new challenge: Graduating from one grade to another brings the culmination and conclusion of work done and the excitement of learning something new. In some ways, it serves as a ritual or an initiation process, leaving elementary school to join the ranks of middle school. As employees graduate from projects and roles, or clearly master skill sets, it’s important to acknowledge what’s been accomplished and what’s next. This can be done in 1:1 meetings or during the project kick-off.
How can you incorporate breaks and play into your culture?
How do you create a sense of newness when kicking off a project or other transition points throughout the year?
How do you use projects to promote learning and development for your team?