Skip to content

How to Prepare Your Team for Crunch Periods

3 minute read

Extreme stress affects employee performance. Crunch periods are the busiest and so they could pile stress on if it's not managed properly. Leanne Spencer, Founder of Bodyshot Performance, awarding-winning keynote speaker, and Author of Cadence how to prepare individuals and teams, so that they can excel while managing their stress during the busiest of times.

I believe many aspects of business are very predictable. Knowing when these big events are is helpful as you can prepare your team for these events by encouraging them to make small changes that maximise their energy, mood and motivation. We tend to underestimate what we can achieve in health over a short period of time, and small changes can have a significant impact on our ability to deliver and perform.

What can we learn from athletes?

Business can often feel like an endurance sport with occasional sprints (or maybe it feels more like an endurance sport with frequent sprints). What if you and your teams saw yourselves as corporate athletes? Athletes are very good at anticipating when they require their energy and peaking at the right times.

They’ll identify the events they want to perform at and understand what they need to do to prepare for those events. They will prioritise recovery after peaking, then repeat the process again, striving for success each time. I believe we can learn a lot from this.

Predicting the crunch periods

When are the crunch periods for your team? If you’re a tech company it might be a product launch, a strategic partnership, or a company acquisition. All businesses will have sales targets such as quarter end or fiscal year end. Could you work with your team to identify these busy periods, and then help them prepare?

Preparing for the crunch periods

Encourage your teams to focus on one or two daily non-negotiables in the areas of strength, health, energy, mood or motivation. My daily non-negotiables are step count, sleep quantity and reading – these set me up well for periods where high performance is required but also keep me in a state of readiness for the unpredictable things that occur in all areas of life. Not everything is predictable in life and work, but it’s easier to stay ready than get ready.

Prioritising mini-breaks or small opportunities for recovery

An important aspect of managing crunch periods is recovery, but this doesn’t need to involve big chunks of downtime. In my office, I have two large windows. I look out of the window in-between calls for a minute or so. This is a perfect example of what I call a sliver of recovery: a small opportunity for rest that can be taken multiple times throughout the day. It could be daydreaming, doing some breathwork, chatting to a colleague who makes you laugh (I think we underestimate the power of social relationships for wellbeing). What small things you could you normalise within your culture to optimise performance?

Cadence is the key to high performance

By working with your team to identify the crunch periods and encouraging them to prepare for these events, you’ll promote a high-performance culture where people can thrive. Instead of expecting your teams to perform at the highest level all year round, which can lead to burnout, introduce a flow or cadence to the way the team approach busy periods.

By Leanne Spencer, Founder of Bodyshot Performance

Keep up to date with the latest events, resources and articles.

Sign-up for the Engage Employee Newsletter