The summer months are full of distractions, from kids being out of school to holidays to beautiful days luring us all outside. Clients feel these distractions too, and oftentimes business slows down during these months. The combination of the pull of summer and a slowdown in business can lead to a significant drop in your team’s productivity. For larger corporations, this might not even be felt, but for small businesses, any employees being less productive can result in a significant loss.
What can be just as damaging for your business, however, is the drop in morale that can come from forcing or demanding top-productivity through these cherished months. The all-important balance during the summer is finding ways to keep your team productive without hurting morale. Afterall, summer is a great time of year that your team should look forward to rather than dread. Here are some tips to help keep your team happy this summer while also ensuring that they continue to perform at a high level.
Before the summer begins, ensure that you have good vacation policies in place
Hays Recruiting advocates for this simple step of planning to ease some workplace stressors this summer. A well-communicated and adhered-to vacation policy will ensure that employees give adequate notice of vacations, which in turn enables you to honor requests without leaving the rest of the team overworked, frustrated and confused. This preemptive step helps set clear expectations and helps you to meet all of your employees’ needs.
Once you have a policy in place, make every effort to honor time-off requests
Vacations are an important way for employees to recharge, avoid burnout and stay productive during the summer. While you might have to stagger requests or make some adjustments, do everything you can to honor your team’s time-off requests in a timely manner. Doing this not only can increase overall productivity, but it also shows employees that you care about them, which is a great morale boost.
Consider flexible working schedules
For any of your employees that spend most of their day at a desk on the computer or phone, a flexible work arraignment might be a good solution for the summer. You could allow this one day a week or give employees a certain number of days when they can select this option. This can help add some variety to the summer schedule, give employees a break from commuting and take some childcare pressure off of working parents. You’ll obviously want to communicate clear expectations prior to implementing this, but for some teams this is a good way to keep employees from getting into a summer rut.
Schedule office outings
When you’re working indoors during the summer, it can sometimes feel like everyone else is outdoors having fun. Ease some of this “FOMO” by getting your team outdoors as much as possible. Whether it’s through a team barbecue after work, a happy hour on a patio, an impromptu outdoor meeting or a walking check-in, get creative to help get your team outside even during workdays.
Incorporate a flexible time off strategy
One way to add a little extra joy in your office this summer is through some extra, flexible days off. At Litzky PR, they offer employees two extra Fridays off during the summer. They’ve found this policy to be a great morale booster and a way to reward employees with the all-important resource of time.
Have a summer schedule
Many teams have found that closing the office early on Friday is a great way to keep employees focused throughout the week. Rather than slogging through a Friday afternoon while envisioning others at the pool, celebrate your team’s good work by closing at noon every Friday during the summer. Messaging that this is a way to thank your team for their consistently high-quality work is a way to boost morale and ensure some extra focus earlier in the week (after all, no one wants to be left finishing a project on Friday afternoon when the rest of the team is heading for the beach).
Take a vacation and encourage all executive team members to do the same
Are you losing focus this summer or frustrated to be missing time with your family? If so, your employees notice this and the sentiment spreads. Avoid this and model the importance of balance by taking a few days of a real vacation. (Note: this means actually unplugging, not being on your computer while looking outside at the beach). Not only will this break help you, but it will also set the standard for your team: vacation and time off is important, as is coming back refreshed and focused.
Summer is one of the greatest times of the year and a season that many people look forward to for months. However, for lots of employees it can also be a time of frustration over being inside, having to miss time with family or being overwhelmed with handling additional childcare demands. As a result, it’s important to find ways to honor your employees needs for a little extra flexibility and fun during the summer months. Whether you take advantage of the above tips or have some other ideas of your own, make sure that you proactively find some ways to keep your team’s morale and productivity high throughout the summer months.