July has just begun, which means summer is upon us—at least here, in the Northern Hemisphere 🙂 Kids are already out of school, sun is on full display, days are long and hot, and vacations are in the works. No doubt, this is an enjoyable season—but if you’re not careful, productivity can take a nosedive. Is your team ready?
No summer slump!
These months will often usher in a summer slump, with 25 percent of surveyed office workers reporting a decrease in their productivity. 68 percent admit to distractions or daydreaming on the job, and 63 percent clock out earlier than usual this time of year.
Not to mention, employee engagement as a whole has fallen to just 32 percent so far in 2022, Gallup research indicates. This means current engagement rates are lower than they were at the peak of COVID-19. However, there is an upside. Gallup found that hybrid workers tend to be more engaged than their exclusively remote counterparts.
As summer looms closer, it’s vital to sustain this motivation and momentum. If you’re a business owner or manager who leads a hybrid team, here’s how to avoid that summer slump and maximize productivity in a dispersed work environment.
Encourage workers to use their PTO
According to a recent poll, only 27 percent of U.S. employees used all of their paid time off in 2021. Even more concerning, of those who used their PTO:
- 49 percent worked for at least 1 hour each day while on vacation
- 58 percent were required to answer job-related communications
There are several reasons employees often feel restricted in how they use PTO, like:
- Pressure of heavy workloads and expectations
- Fear of falling behind or letting the team down
However, in reality, taking a vacation can elevate performance.
When employees are able to disconnect from the stressors of their work environment, their sense of physical and mental well-being tends to improve. According to Frontiers in Psychology, this time to rest and recharge could also enhance many aspects like:
- Problem-solving skills when they return to the job
A change in routine and scenery can stimulate the brain to think outside the box and generate creative ideas or solutions. Otherwise, these might not be as accessible when employees are burned out from lack of rest.
To keep productivity high all summer long, encourage your team to use their PTO.
Give your team a few summer perks
It’s been well-established that high turnover hurts organizational productivity—but still, this Great Resignation continues. As the 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey found, 53 percent of U.S. employees will consider leaving their current position in search of increased benefits and flexible work arrangements.
To retain employees and bolster their performance levels, you need to offer the incentives they’re looking for. A hybrid work environment is a positive start as almost 60 percent of employees prefer this model, Gallup reports. Here are some other enticing perks that could help your team beat the summer slump:
- Employer-sponsored childcare for parents with kids out of school
- Flexible hours or compressed 10-hour, four-day work weeks
- Home office stipends to create a functional, designated workspace
- Performance bonuses to motivate increased engagement
- Mental health resources to combat the risk of employee burnout
Don’t lag on internal communication
As employees rotate in and out of the office during these two months—some away on vacation and others choosing to work primarily from home—it can feel tempting to cut down on internal communications. However, this is a serious issue in terms of productivity.
Another research reveals that ineffective team communication can result in a loss of 7.47 productive hours each week. That averages out to a loss of $12,506 per employee in annual revenue. This data is proof that success in a hybrid work environment requires strong internal communication.
Keep the lines of communication flowing as consistently as possible. Respect the time off on vacation and encourage work-life boundaries. This way, everyone has a chance to rest and unplug.
Yet, don’t allow communications to lag entirely. Instead, offer asynchronous options. You will encourage employees to contact each other from various locations or time zones without expecting an immediate response. Use a team communication platform like Hubgets for virtual chat with one or more coworkers, to share files, offer project feedback, or simply collaborate more effectively.
Balance flexibility with accountability
Giving employees more freedom in the summer can motivate them to perform at higher levels. To achieve this outcome, you must also hold them accountable. Be clear and transparent about your expectations for their deliverables, and initiate a one-on-one conversation if a team member is not meeting these benchmarks.
When there is no ambiguity around what’s expected of them, employees will rise to the occasion. However, you don’t want to become a micromanager. Here are a few ideas to balance a flexible work environment with a culture of meaningful accountability:
- Continually come back to your why and company mission so employees understand the value of what they’re being asked to do.
- Communicate clearly and often. Employees may need more communication when working from home. Remember this can be as simple as a chat message, not necessarily more meetings.
- Connect with employees about expectations. Do they feel reasonable? Do they feel attainable?
- Be clear on KPIs and how you measure success. Not only does this make it easier to see who’s staying on track and who’s not, but it gives employees something tangible to work toward.
Maximize your hybrid team’s productivity this summer
This summer season is a time of relaxation, but that doesn’t mean your team should be lax on productivity.
With these actionable strategies in place, you’ll avoid the summer slump, maintain a culture of high performance, and make sure that everyone is working efficiently. And in the meantime, they will still be enjoying this beautiful time of year!