How Cabin Fever Can Impact Teams

Posted: Feb 06 2015

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Here at Team Challenge Company we know that strong, productive and competent teams are essential to the success of businesses, big and small. This is evident in the amount of time and effort invested in team building events and team development.

That said it is the individuals within a team that make or break it. A group of skilled, hardworking people who communicate and collaborate with each other in order to fulfil common goals is what will drive the company forward. As such, the attitude, behaviour and wellbeing of these individuals are of paramount importance.

Now, for the most part, those who enjoy their job and enjoy working with those on their team will have no issues staying motivated, enthusiastic and focused at work. However, there is a portion of the population that struggles with the changes in the seasons, specifically with the arrival of winter.

Winter throws us plenty of challenges, like dark mornings and bleak surroundings. However, it also presents certain hurdles that seriously impact an individual's - and often a team's - ability to function effectively.

One such hurdle is Cabin Fever.

Cabin Fever

Though an idiomatic term coined in 1918, Cabin Fever is something that seems to affect a significant number of people, particularly in the winter months. Cabin Fever is the claustrophobic feeling that occurs when individuals or groups are shut up in small spaces for extended periods of time.

Symptoms of Cabin Fever can be anything from irritability and restlessness to severe reactions of panic and anger. Sufferers will often feel the need to escape through sleep, be very antisocial, or feel overwhelmed by a powerful urge to go outside, even in the bad weather.

To help team members deal with Cabin Fever, be understanding and perhaps introduce short five-minute breaks in the morning and afternoon where sufferers can go outside in the fresh air. For the rest of the day, crack a window for fresh air and let in as much natural light as possible during daylight hours.

You can also try to inspire your team members with activities and events that are outside of the norm. For example, hosting extra training sessions or holding workshops to develop key skills will help individuals on both a personal and professional level, as well as benefit the company as a whole.

Similarly, your company could choose one of the enjoyable and beneficial team building activities on offer at Team Challenge Company; the perfect way to give teams something to look forward to.

Now, Cabin Fever is by no means the only change in psychological state that people have to deal with on a seasonal basis. Another example is Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is a depressive illness that can seriously inhibit an individual's ability to function normally during the darker and colder days of winter.

What these different challenges have in common is the profound way they impact not just those directly affected, but also those around them. Even the strongest of teams can fall apart if one of its members suffering goes unnoticed or if their obvious struggle is not addressed.

So this winter, pay extra care and attention to the individuals on your team and the dynamic of the team as a whole. Then put special effort in to keep everyone occupied and enthusiastic with little treats and team building activities. 

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