How can you foster team productivity during the summer? Longer days and warmer weather means your employees will soon be daydreaming about their upcoming summer getaways with thoughts of mai tais and beach breezes.
While staffers are counting down the days until vacation, you’re trying to keep their heads in the game. What’s commonly referred to as the “summer slump” can provide a nice respite for employees, but can ultimately hurt your small business’s productivity. In addition to planned vacation time, many of your employees will call in unexpected personal days over the next three months to attend sporting events, care for children who are out of school, or to add an extra day to a holiday weekend.
Your workers deserve some time to recharge, but how can you keep your staffers engaged while it’s 80 degrees and sunny? Here are some tips on how to deal.
Summer hours for maximum team productivity
Many companies counter a drop in team productivity by offering summer hours — giving their employees Fridays off, or at least allowing them to work from home once a week. So how do they get more work out of employees when they put in fewer hours?
Think of Parkinson’s law which postulates that “work expands so as to fill the time available.” The reverse is also true: When employees have less time accomplish the same goals, they often work with more focus and efficiency. You might be surprised when summer hours provide a boost to your bottom line.
Plan ahead when it comes to vacations
Summer provides employees with a little breathing room, but overlapping vacations can leave some staffers burdened with the projects left behind by their peers. Have a clear vacation policy protocol that accounts for seniority and advance notice. If summer is your busy season, consider hiring part-time summer help to assist with the overflow.
Consider sponsoring passion projects
Here’s where you can take a little inspiration from Google. The Silicon Valley giant tells its staffers that they can use 20 percent of their work time to engage in side projects they believe will benefit the company. Your employees entered into your industry for a reason. Now is the time to ask them about their passion projects and give them some time to test out new products or strategies.
Create a mentorship program
Summer is a great time to allow junior employees to shadow senior managers—and to raise team productivity from the bottom-up! Get younger workers involved in more advanced tasks so they’ll be ready for more responsibility when the time comes to take their career to the next level.
Make time for playtime
Summer is a great time for staff retreats, team-building exercises, and after-work drinks. Get your staff away from their desks and out of their comfort zones to encourage team bonding and creative thinking. Motivate employees to get their 10,000 steps a day by joining in on lunchtime walks, or invite them out for happy hour and get to know them on a personal level.
If you have the budget for it, an overnight trip at a cool resort or an evening at a fancy restaurant is a great way to say thank you to your staff and a covert way to solicit their ideas in a less formal setting. Working on a shoestring? An afternoon potluck can work wonders for your staff’s morale—and it won’t cost you a dime.
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