5 Ways to Battle Lifeguard Fatigue

By Joey LaNeve, City of Mesa

We have reached the halfway point for many of our summer seasons. While many of us are excited for that light at the end of the tunnel that means a chance for us to take a breath, it also probably means that your lifeguards are feeling the burn of working so many long weeks. As management we need to make sure that we are finding ways to keep our lifeguards engaged both to prevent “ghosting”, or when staff abandon their job or stop responding to their supervisors, and burnout. Here are some ideas for you to use with your team:

  1. Non-Work Related Staff Outings

Getting your staff together for voluntary fun activities outside of work is a great way to keep your staff engaged in the job. You could do activities like laser tag, paintball, go to a movie together or find something free in town to do. This helps staff feel appreciated and part of the team. It also gets them off the pool deck and interacting in ways that they do not get a chance to do at work.

  • Change up Your In-Services

At this point of the summer, we are running out of ways to keep in-services fun. To prevent your trainings from getting too repetitive don’t forget to get creative with activities. Teambuilding games are a great way to work in intentional play to your trainings that also helps create stronger bonds on your team. Check out resources like Lifeguards Love Youtube to find great new training activity ideas. 

  • Show your Appreciation:

Our young lifeguards love to know that they are making an impact in the jobs that they do. Find ways to show them genuine appreciation for their hard work. This could be stopping a guard in the office to tell them how much you appreciate them, buying small prizes as a token of your gratitude, or even a handwritten note can go a long way. Everyone prefers to be appreciated in different ways so make sure to ask your staff for their input. Give your staff a chance to give each other shout-outs by placing a box with some sheets of paper in their office for them to write out thank-you notes to their teammates.

  • Food!

Schedule a potluck for an hour or two before or after your pool is open so that your staff have a chance to decompress before or after a long day of work. Food brings people together and helps make it so that your staff wants to come to work that day.

  • Set Weekly Goals

Having an attainable goal to work towards each week can be a great motivator for your staff. Change the goal each week to keep your staff working towards new tasks. Post the goal where everyone can see it in the staff office and make sure to celebrate your wins at the end of the week. Goals could include “no customer complaints”, “no late rotations”, “everyone is on time for their shifts”, or similar things that you can rally your staff behind.

The summer can feel like its dragging on but with a few small changes to your work day you can create a fresh and positive work environment to get your staff to the finish line!

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