Written by Tamara Gravelle at www.vidcruiter.com
How to Fight Off the Summertime Blues in the Office
Summer is almost here and if you’re like most managers, you’re probably looking at the vacation schedule trying to figure out how your staff is going to make it through. Honestly, your staff is probably feeling the same stress you are. Between accommodating for out-of-office employees to trying to juggle their summer social schedule, it’s not surprising that summer is one of the least productive times of the year. Reports have shown 25% of employees have a harder time focusing on their work during the summer.
It’s not hard to see why this is the case. Warmer days call for changes in your employee’s routine and suddenly they have to be concerned about their children’s summer daycare, organizing trips to the beach, travelling to family weddings, and more. Some of your employees may also have to deal with symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). While commonly associated with winter, SAD can also affect some people during the summer months, making it hard to focus while in the office.
What all these summertime distractions add up to is a workforce which is not completely focused on the tasks at hand. This can be especially problematic if your organization’s year-end is during the summer months or if your organization has a major project due during this time.
Fortunately, there are some things you as a manager and your company as an organization can do to make sure your employees remain positive and focused during the summer months. Implementing even a few of the tips listed below will show your workforce that you care about their well-being and will help them produce high-quality work even when they would rather be at the lake.
8 Ways to Keep Staff Happy and Focused During the Summer
1. Allow Employees to Work Remotely
For many employees, working remotely could be a great productivity and work-life balance solution for the summer months. Allowing your employees to work from home (or from the beach, the cottage, a coffee shop) will lead to a happier, healthier workforce that’s more productive as a result.
With the modern technology now available, it’s never been easier for office employees or those who mainly work on a computer to do so from another location. You can make any system they may need accessible from their personal computer or they can just take their work laptop home if you provide one. Proper communication and collaboration software for the office also makes it easier than ever to get in touch with remote workers, so you know you’ll be able to get a hold of them in the event of an emergency or urgent request.
2. Host Employee Appreciation Days
One of the best ways you can increase employee engagement is to show that you appreciate them. Hosting an Employee Appreciation Day two or three times over the course of the summer could be just what your staff needs to keep productivity up.
You can keep the event super simple by doing an on-site barbecue or ordering lunch for the office. You can also take it a step further by planning a day of activities or an outing for your employees. This not only can act as a bonding opportunity, it also sends a positive message to your employees which could help maintain positivity throughout the summer.
3. Provide Temporary Daycare Options
This option is not for every organization, but if you have the space and the funds to provide your employees with an in-office child care solution, it has great benefits on productivity and workplace happiness.
Reliable, high-quality daycare providers are often difficult to find, especially during the summer months when children are out of school. By providing employees with child care during the summer, parents will be less stressed and more focused on their job. They can also spend their lunches and breaks with their children, allowing them to balance their work with their home life better, making them more efficient and happier employees.
4. Set Short-Term Goals Instead of Big Projects
It can be a convenient option for managers to assign major projects with a far-away deadline during the summer. Doing this allows employees not to worry about missing something while they’re on vacation and gives them time to deal with day-to-day tasks which may arise. This is a fine plan, but it could cause unnecessary stress on your employees.
A better option is to have many smaller projects or goals that could be sent out and accomplished in no more than two weeks. Short-term goals help keep staff more motivated because they seem more attainable than long projects. By organizing your staff’s summer this way, you’ll be able to get to the end of it without experiencing a summer slump.
5. Adopt Summer Working Hours
This tip is probably one of the hardest to convince employers to accept, why would they pay their employees for a full week of work if they aren’t putting in a full week of time? The reality is that there are many benefits of doing this, for both the employee and the employer. Offering flexible hours in the summer helps employees feel more productive and get more work done when they are in the office.
There are many different summer hours options, and you can choose the one that works best for your company. You can do half-day Fridays or half-days on an employee’s chosen work day, allowing employees to leave a little early before the start of the weekend, or alternating time off if you can’t have all your staff out of the office at the same time. Another option is to allow employees to work 10-hour days Monday to Thursday, so they can get Friday off. This option isn’t for every employee, but there will be some who thrive under these conditions and would appreciate it.
6. Switch Up the Office Decor
The vibe your employees feel while at the office could mean the difference between a productive day and hours of day-dreaming. A dull, cramped office usually doesn’t inspire employees to work their hardest, especially when there’s green grass and sunlight outside. A few decor changes could be just want you need to put a little pep in your employee’s step.
Some small things you can do is decorate the office with plants and summer-themed colors and images. Also make sure there’s as much natural light as possible and give employees the opportunity to decorate their workspace to make them feel at home. This gets your employees engaged in the process and could help make them feel more comfortable in their surroundings.
7. Get Employees Together Outside of Work
Many managers don’t see the benefits of team building activities, but when done correctly, the result of these events can greatly improve how your staff works together. Getting your staff out of the office to participate in an event together helps decrease stress and allows most people to experience something new.
In the summer, doing something outside with your team is the best option. If you have something unique in the area your team can do, make a day out of it! If that’s not possible, you can try doing something like setting up a company softball team, organizing an office golf tournament, or simply taking the team out for a patio margarita after a long days work. There are so many ways to break up long work weeks, you’ll be surprised at how effective a good outing can be for team building and productivity.
8. Encourage Staff to Go Outside During the Day
Sometimes it’s just too nice outside to be happy in the office and your staff needs some Vitamin D to get their energy up. During the summer, there’s no reason to make sure your staff stays inside during the entire workday. By encouraging your staff to take their lunch and breaks outside, they’ll come back to work energized and ready to take on the rest of the day.
It doesn’t have to be breaks only, as well. Instead of having meetings in a stuffy boardroom, move them to a patch of grass outside the office or the rooftop patio. Not only will this re-energize your staff, but it’s also a more relaxed environment that can help spark some creativity. Of course, this isn’t an option with every meeting, but brainstorming sessions do really well in this type of setting.
The main message you want to deliver to your staff during an unproductive period is that you appreciate what they do and you care about their well-being. Your staff will work harder knowing they’re valued and the tips above will help show that.
You will want to make sure the summer isn’t too much of a distraction for your employees, while being empathic. I wouldn’t suggest putting all these tips into practice because that may cause distractions rather than productivity, but by selecting the ones that work best for you and your staff you’ll have a happier, more focused workforce during the summer.