What is it about summer that just makes employees itchy to bolt from their desks and take off for the day—or week?
Well…to be honest, it’s literally everything. The gorgeous weather, the promise of vacations in the air, the beach, tasty summer treats, the long days, fun outings that they’re probably missing out on, the laid-back atmosphere. And, let’s not forget: in some bigger companies, business can slow down a bit, and this creates an antsy feeling within the office walls that makes one think, Do I really need to be here today?
When there’s less meetings, less clicks, and less emails, employees can begin to feel unnecessary—even when they are still very needed. This makes it very tempting indeed to simply leave the office and go relax.
But does work really stop during the summer?
In some ways yes, and in some ways no. Summertime can cause a major lull, but it can also be very productive, depending on the choices that business owners and employees make.
It also depends on what industry you’re in. For some companies, the real work begins during the summer, such as camps, warm-weather tourism, wedding planning, and pretty much anything that’s based outdoors (except snow sports, of course).
On the other hand, many companies suffer from “vacation lapse” during the summer. Summertime is when most employees—including the top decision-makers—are out for an extended period of time. This means that projects are at some point going to be delayed, and that lots of employees—especially employees interacting across departments—are going to mentally check out.
So what are some things that business owners can do during the summer to stay productive?
Award days off as performance rewards.
Did an employee close a sale this week? Hit an extra-high quota? Make a client very happy? Reward them with a summer day off! Not only will this boost their morale, it will make other employees work hard, too.
Dust off old “to do” lists.
If it happens to be slow, take a look at goals that got pushed to the back burner during the more hectic quarters. Try to tackle them before the year gets too crazy again.
Organize a company retreat or outing.
Can’t keep employees from mentally drifting away to the sunshine? Fight fire with fire by bringing the company to the sun. Not only will this put them outside where they’re dreaming of being; it’s also a great excuse to increase morale, reinstate company culture, build teamwork, and hold informative workshops.
Assess the budget.
This is actually normal for companies to do at the beginning of July to get ready for Q3 and Q4. Once the budget is assessed, spending decisions and marketing plans can begin to take shape. This is a great opportunity to get employees motivated and excited. Have meetings to share the rest of the year’s plans with them. Although they may be dreaming of beaches, they will still be mentally engaged when marketing and spending plans are involved. Motivate them to be their best, and they will work more empowered.
Conduct performance reviews.
Nothing makes employees snap to like evaluation time! By holding them during the summer, you’ll prevent a lot of the mental check-outs. It may be difficult to schedule around vacation times, but it will be effective.
Develop a marketing plan for Q3/Q4.
If a lot of employees are out of the office, you’ll want them at full capacity when they return. So, of course, there needs to be a strong plan in place for them to follow. This is the right time to develop and plan marketing efforts for the rest of the year.
Keep the office cool.
This one may sound silly, especially in a 500+ employee company. However, heat is very distracting, and this does happen. Yes, even in big companies. When employees are hot, they want to leave! Make sure they are comfortable and cool—and who knows, they may even stay late.
Consider half-day Fridays.
Yes, yes, we know…this one can be tricky, especially for big companies. But “summer Fridays” are still worth thinking about. They can prevent burnout and boost productivity, making employees work harder once they’re back at their desks because they’ve enjoyed a longer weekend, they’re refreshed, and ready to work.
Summer is a great time to spruce up your marketing materials and online presence. When was the last time you had a detailed look at your business cards? Brochures? Website? Go through each of these and study what’s working and what’s not.
Get everyone on the same page.
If your company’s summertime is slow-ish, then it’s the time when you should install new software and have employees understand how to use it. For example, if you’ve been wanting to move into an ECM system—which can scan and digitize company documents, archive, store, and make sure data is secure, summer is the time to do it.
Create clear vacation policies and schedule wisely.
When vacations are scheduled poorly and overlap or cause projects to flounder, this creates frustration amongst employees—both those working on the project and those trying to enjoy their vacation stress-free. This can be avoided by having requests/approvals or simple smart scheduling in place.
During slow days, why not write a whitepaper or “best practices” document that can be shared on LinkedIn or another platform? Process documents and company guides can also be written during this time.
Have meetings outside.
Kind of like the “retreat” tip, only in smaller form. Do employees look bored and dreamy? Have that 3:00 conference outside under the trees. Is Phil looking anxious? Take him for a walk to discuss Q4. This will feed the eagerness to get outside.
Court new accounts.
Want to keep building leads during the summer? Use this time to find new networking groups and conferences in your area. Schedule coffee/lunch dates with new contacts, and work to build relationships both online and off.
As you can see, summer can be quite productive and can bear many fruits. Mmm…fruit. A fruity margarita…on the beach…in the sun.
Computhink is a company that specializes in enterprise content management systems to help companies save energy, time, and money. Stay on top of our blog so that you never miss any of our informative posts.