It’s here. And it’s hot. The buzz of setting New Year goals has waned. Summertime, once a time for beaches and barbecues, picnic and late-night movies, is now a time to juggle schedules. Kids are off school. Deadlines for work still have to be met. And downtime has become stress time. Usually, productivity drops during summer months.
Organizations take the summer slump as part of the norm. But, why not strive to keep engagement up and production up? Or does that sound too lofty?
Really, there are positive ways an organization can keep employees engaged and productivity up during these long summer months. Here are 7 tips to keep employees focused during the summer slump.
1. Be Flexible: Autonomy is the key here. Camping, swimming, and family reunions are all part of many employees’ summers. So if you can’t get work out of summer, bring summer to work. Letting employees leave early an afternoon, or come late a Monday morning might shave time off their hours, but will give them a sense of autonomy that is an essential part of engagement. Work smarter, not longer.
2. More radically, stop clocking hours: Is the work getting done? Then how and when it gets done isn’t much of an issue, right? Some companies even have a vacation non-policy. Employees take time off according to their personal goals met. As this Fast Company blog says, “Trust breeds responsibility, happiness breeds productivity, and everybody wins.”
3. Set short-term goals: Based on action plans set at the beginning of the year, set short-term goals for employees (or, better yet, have them set their own). This way they can feel forward momentum in small increments. This will keep the energy of work in their work.
4. Partner with a local sporting goods store or club or pool. Get discounted prices for kayak and paddle board rentals, hiking clubs and more. By making summer part of the work environment, and getting employees on board with a local sporting goods shop, you’re also creating a culture of health and exercise.
5. Get kids on your brain: Partner with a local summer camp, children’s museum, or YMCA to get discounted prices for kid camps. If that doesn’t work, consider hosting a vacation camp week. Many employees have children. Child care costs are astronomical, as are most summer camps. By providing a week of vacation camp at the workplace, for a discounted price, you’re giving your employees an opportunity to breathe (economically and time-wise). Not every workplace is equipped for this, but with a little creativity and the right recreational leaders, a board room can become a pretty phenomenal place.
6. Loosen the tie policy: Summer is hot. Ties are uncomfortable – as are nylons and other “formal business” attire. So, during summer days, relax the dress code and let your employees cool off.
7. Remember how critical work/life balance is , especially during the summer. Set a company communication policy and turn off phones and computers after work.
Finding ways to keep employees engaged during summer is challenging. But if organizations take time to create summer strategies, they can beat the heat and summer slump.