When we were kids in school, summer was an exciting time, used to relax and take a break from the studies. This mentality often sticks with us into adulthood, sometimes leading to lower performance rates at work. During the warmest months of the year, the productivity slump can get as annoying as the heat outside.
Some estimates calculate that workplace productivity drops by nearly 20 percent during July and August. Often, employees are more distracted by warm weather, upcoming trips, and fun with family and friends.
What’s more, June, July, and August are the most common months to request time off (other than the December holiday season). Oftentimes, this is the most practical time to travel. Kids are out of school and parents need to build their vacations around them. This creates ripple effects in the office. Having less people active can stall projects and delay approval on key items. The result in a summer slump.
Your office doesn’t have to come to a standstill just because the weather is warming up. Use these tips to overcome the productivity slump so you can maintain efficiency at work even throughout the summer.
Clarify your company’s hybrid work policy
During the school year, parents nail down a routine for balancing school, work, extracurriculars, and family time. However, summer can completely throw everything off. The kids need to be dropped off at day camp one week and are sitting at home the next.
Summer is a great time to review the hybrid work policy with your employees, managers, and peers. When do employees need to be in the office? Is there workplace flexibility for dropping off and picking up kids? Employees might work with their team leads one-on-one to develop a summer schedule that works for everyone.
Test meeting-free days
Many workplaces are overrun with meetings, despite their lacking actual value. One survey even found that 71 percent of managers thought meetings were costly and unproductive. One solution is to implement meeting-free days. Then, employees are allowed to focus on their work without calls and other disruptions.
Friday is the most requested day off, accounting for 27 percent of time off requests. Monday is another popular day as people take long weekends. or they simply need to recover from their vacations. As a result, these make great meeting-free days. The people who are in-office can focus on their work and don’t have to worry about attending meetings where only half the invited team members can attend.
Use the quiet summer months to focus on key projects
Some people love working around the holidays because their offices are so quiet. Their phones don’t ring, their email inboxes are empty, and they can catch up on a lot of work. Instead of viewing the summer months as an inconvenience, use them as an opportunity.
- What projects have been on the back burner that you haven’t been able to start?
- What half-finished plans need to be completed?
Spend some time reflecting on your goals for the next three months. During this time, you can also consider how these projects align with the skills of your summer interns. In the near future, they can become full team members.
Cross-train and upskill before vacation time
For some people, the summer productivity slump is the result of projects being put on hold. For others, summer is a time for taking on extra work while their peers travel. Now is the time to evaluate cross-training opportunities that you and your employees might benefit from.
Remember the interns mentioned earlier? This is a great opportunity for them. Cross-training is a good way to involve people at all levels of your organization. Consider scheduling lunch-and-learns for your team or open-invite training sessions so new employees and seasoned workers alike can grow their skills.
Remember the 70:20:10 model for learning development: employees gain 70 percent of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20 percent from their peers, and 10 percent from formal training. The training sessions you hold can prepare your interns and peers to learn through experience–hopefully, while you are relaxing on the beach 😉
Don’t fight the productivity slump, prepare for it
Fighting the productivity slump doesn’t mean grinding through lazy days and scrambling to fill in when an employee is out on vacation. Instead, it means developing an understanding of why people are less productive during this period and building solutions around it.
Your team can let people take time off without fear of missing important meetings. You can support your employees with kids until their weird summer schedules stabilize in the fall.
So prepare and relax. You can make these months the best time of the year without giving up on workplace productivity.