Sublime once said it best. “Summertime… and the living’ s easy.” Except, not for anyone who has a full-time job with deadlines and quarterly goals to meet. Luckily for us, though, the modern office has made great leaps into the future of work and so far, we’ve been able to meet new accommodations that make the Summer season easier to enjoy. As HR professionals and managers, the trick is still striking that perfect balance between optimal employee productivity and allowing them to submerge their toes in the beachy sand worry-free.
You might notice a summer slump or a productivity dip underway at your office. It might even be in full force, already. A recent Captivate study determined that workplace productivity declines by a staggering 20% during the sunniest season of the year, with attendance dipping by 19% and project turnaround times increasing by 13%. That’s not exactly awesome news for companies looking to meet their Q3 objectives. There is a way to make everyone happy and still see your business turn a profit or reach its timely goals. Pull your people out of their productivity dip by diving into these Summer friendly strategies instead:
Be just as flexible as your swimsuit
This Summer, it’s not just about achieving work-life balance by taking a morning off here and there. Sure, flexibility is still king when it comes to bettering your employees’ moods, which is normally a statistical result of tending to non-work areas of their lives in a less stressful manner. But, this Summer season, take flexibility above and beyond and let your people know that it’s okay to stray outside of rigid work hours and still be productive.
A 2017 study in the International Journal of Economics, Commerce, and Management found that schedule flexibility significantly boosts individual performance and organizational profits, while increasing overall employee morale. Acknowledging the fact that your people are bound to have summertime specific requests lets them know that you care about them enjoying their time outside and on trips. Seeing your people as, well, actual people, is a bonus HR tactic that keeps business productivity at its highest level.
Be seasonal when team building
Team building should take on a Summer theme whenever possible – and, why not? Ice cream socials, company cookouts, and a fun day at the park throwing frisbees could all be great bonding experiences for your employees. We know it’s important to stay on task and meet crucial deadlines but in order to perform at optimal levels, energy spikes should be induced when the opportunity presents itself. These activities can bear some sort of connection to your current business goals, a team project, a movement your company is supporting, all while actively igniting their creative vision in the process.
Planning the Summer around activities that inspire the workflow and purpose behind your people’s main objective also reduces stress levels, partially due to a sense of comradery that’s explored by group events and the option to discuss their lives outside of work. Research shows that high morale organizations benefit from alleviated stress levels, leading to higher productivity, reduced turnover, and absenteeism. The only kind of absenteeism you should see in your office this summer is when someone takes a vacation. Which brings us to our next point…
Be Caribbean Sea clear with vacation policy
Paid vacation days (PTOs) can be stressful in their own right. Sometimes, an employee feels a bit embarrassed to use one. Other times, they’re scared of experiencing FOMO while being away from their work for too long. There are other employees, however, who will request to use their PTO left and right. Managers and HR professionals need to approach vacation time with consideration and caution. PTOs can cause serious headaches if not handled correctly and can create an overwhelming workload for colleagues who aren’t OOO.
Time Off, a research group located in Washington, D.C., found that employees rate paid vacation as the second most important benefit, with healthcare nestled in the top spot. To keep performance momentum over the Summer, make your PTO expectations crystal clear and explain company policy regarding vacation time before that tidal wave of time-off requests crashes on your HR shore. In order to prevent an influx of last-minute PTO requests, you need to be transparent about its stipulations, as well as your intentions that aim to prevent frustrating situations for other employees and managers. It’s equally important to be aware of overlapping vacations within departments. The overwhelming workload, mentioned earlier, is generally an implication of team members taking a vacation during the same time gap. Referring to a calendar when approving PTOs can greatly deter these types of circumstances from occurring.
Be timely with tech like Daylight Savings
You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Okay, all of these tips are great, but – how am I supposed to keep track of PTO requests and flexible schedules, AND manage all of these team building activities?!” As an HR professional or a department manager, modern technology is now and will always be, your best friend. While it stands true that a productive workforce is only as strong as its appreciated and energized people, we still need to manage them in an effective way that meets everyone’s needs.
Having the right technology at your fingertips is what matters. Choose the best software to incorporate into your company’s infrastructure that can streamline your people’s workflow, handle PTO requests, and a company-wide calendar. Collaboration tools, time-tracking apps, and communication apps are cloud-based technologies that can help you more effectively organize and prioritize your Summer season ahead. You won’t just be picking your people out a Summer productivity dip, but yourself as well! Your HR team should consider collaborating with the company IT guru to decide on the best tech that keeps people focused (and you!) on track while getting more done and staying happy at work.
The Summer productivity dip doesn’t have to become a long term challenge that we experience year after year. By understanding our employees and their needs inside and outside of the office, it will be exponentially easier to remain flexible and show consideration for their hobbies and interests that may be allocated to this specific season. Everyone wants to enjoy their Summer, see their children outside of school hours, and still be a positive contribution to the company work for. We know how to make that happen and now, so do you.