Almost every business goes through a patch (call it “season” if you will) that is low in volume, work-wise. These are my favorites (much to people’s dismay) because it allows us to think outside the box and take up meaningful projects that both as a recharge and a much-needed break.
Unfortunately, most teams don’t utilize this well. And the ones who do essentially become the Gmails, Instagrams, Pintrests, Slacks and other start-ups. Not bad for something that you do on-the-side, right? But there’s one major difference between the general approach and how these start-ups were built — commitment.
I find that lacking in teams. They would rather gossip, chat, take leaves, browse the socials or check out what’s trending on Amazon or other online shopping sites instead of engaging in something useful. And believe me, they will be the first ones to complain that the company isn’t doing enough for employee welfare or adequate raises/benefits or work-life balance. Not that anything’s wrong with that but I find it a tad unfair to be investing money in a workforce that doesn’t want to work. Yes, there’s no work right now but we definitely can create something useful if we can get creative.
The idea isn’t to kickstart the next big start-up within your company but to learn skills that can directly contribute to your primary responsibility at the workplace. It’s better than signing up for an online course or a workshop because you’re doing real work with functional objectives and a reasonable deadline.
Sure, there’s a chance that you don’t know when you hit the lean patch. But I’m pretty sure teams can plan for these periods as and when they come. Some organizations (particularly agencies) hit a dry patch in the first few weeks of September and/or January and the last couple of weeks in December. The best part is that predicting something like this isn’t rocket science. Nor is planning for such periods. Implementing the plan, however, does take sheer will and commitment.
If this isn’t common in your workplace, that’s great! Be the change. Make things happen. You will raise some eyebrows and that is okay. At least you’re not wasting time like everyone else. And if the short-term project turns into a long-term one, you just might be on to something bigger, which means you will have to involve the management. Which is great! Because only two things are going to happen — they’ll either scrap it off or admire the effort you and your team have put in.
It’s a great win for everyone! But mostly for you since the skills that you pick up from a project like this is invaluable. And I’m pretty sure it will reap returns year after year, particularly if you keep coming back with new project ideas. Are you up for it?