For many U.S. workers, the summer months often consist of some half days at the office, long weekends and family vacations. While an employee’s personal life may flourish, without proper planning, summer time can quickly become one of the least productive times of year in the workplace.
Office attendance is often lower in June, July and August due to the number of employees taking time off. The quieter workspace can sometimes result in disengaged employees, creating the need for employers to motivate staff to remain focused during this season, while also maintaining employee morale.
Below are five tips to help businesses increase productivity:
1. Establish time off policies.
In order for businesses to keep momentum throughout the summer, managers should establish clear expectations and policies regarding time off. Without an established policy, employees may plan to take vacation at the last minute or even on the same day, which could lead to frustrating and discouraging situations unknowingly when employees request time off. To help prevent this, managers should distribute written policies to every employee well in advance of the summer season, detailing project deadlines and pertinent information surrounding the time off request process.
2. Schedule summer activities.
While it remains important to meet deadlines and complete projects, encouraging a little fun in the workplace can keep employees engaged and help boost positive energy in the office. Planning group events where employees can freely talk about life outside of work may help overcome the summer slump. Activities that embrace the summer season, such as an ice cream social or company cookout may also foster employee involvement.
3. Consider alternate work plans.
Though productivity may appear low among employees, business often does not slow down during the summer season. Since many clients plan vacations or long weekends during this time, managers may consider implementing half-day Fridays to allow employees a chance to rest. As this option is not feasible for every industry, alternatively businesses may consider allowing employees to work remotely on certain days. Employers that need staff to work may allot more vacation at other times of the year or offer comp days to those who work on holidays.
4. Encourage vacations.
Smartphones and widespread internet accessibility often blur the lines between work time and personal time. With school out for the summer and easier travel due to weather, employees may find that it is most rewarding to spend time with their families during these months. As it is feasible due to work schedules and demands, managers should consider encouraging employees to take longer vacations during this season to give them a chance to recharge and refocus to prepare for the next busy season.
5. Leverage the slow down.
Summer can be a valuable time for businesses to get ahead of upcoming projects as well as plan for the remainder of the year. As the second half of the year is the busiest time of year for most businesses, utilizing quieter summer hours to prepare can set a company up for success. To keep everyone concentrated on deliverables and make the most of this time, managers should communicate the priorities, key dates and business objectives to be met. Projects and tasks that are not urgent should be evaluated and scheduled for later in the year.
Each business has different needs, and it is important to determine what works best for the culture and demand of a specific office. All things considered, summer has the potential to provide a great opportunity to bond with colleagues, reward employees for hard work throughout the year by introducing seasonal perks or enjoy the extra quiet time to catch up on work, among many others.
Eric Bonugli is a district manager and Kay Oder is a Certified Business Performance Advisor for Insperity. They are located in the company’s Austin office. Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 32 years provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance.