As the temperatures climb, you get into a summer routine, and it’s easy to slow down, including in the workplace. There are many reasons for this mythical slump, like families taking vacations while kids are out of school, creating an “out of office” ripple effect through your company. Externally, clients and vendors may be taking more time to respond, further making you less productive.
Despite the perceived slowdown, you can use this time efficiently and enable employees to staying productive and moving forward. Find out some strategies to keep them from falling too far behind while preparing them to ramp up in the fall.
Work on individual and internal projects
If your projects are held up by unreliable vendors or slow-responding clients, you might want to rethink what your team members work on this summer. Use this time to address internal projects that may have been put off before the pandemic hit. Or take on projects now necessary as part of a better post-COVID culture. For example:
- Workflow projects: Where can you build out new processes to streamline?
- Internal policies: Where might changes need to be made?
- Company culture: How can you make your post-COVID workplace more connected and engaged?
The summer months can also be used for team members to work on individual projects. These are ideal when people are out of the office and everyone is working more individually. Consider ways that you can support employees in upskilling. Enable them to devote time to personal development and improve mental health.
Encourage employees to use paid time off
It’s tempting to push employees harder when you want to boost productivity and meet your goals. However, this will only benefit your company in the short run. In the long run, you risk team burnout and eventually employee turnover.
This summer, encourage your team members to use their paid time off. Many people couldn’t travel last year and the pandemic stress has been weighing on them for more than 18 months. According to a survey of 2,000 workers by IPX1031:
- only 27 percent of people have taken a vacation since the COVID-19 pandemic started
- 56 percent of workers will have unused vacation time because of COVID-19
By taking a vacation, employees rest and recharge, allowing them to return to the office ready to work. Show them that you support their mental health and that you stand by them!
Create a flexible work schedule
Summer means different things to different people. Some employees might take advantage of the long days to go hiking or exercise outdoors. However, others might be stressed because they have to balance work with watching the kids at home. Managers who want more productive team members can work things out by offering flexible work hours.
The Society for Human Resource Management created a toolkit for offering flexible work hours. Set normal office hours where everyone is expected to be clocked in, for example, 10 am to 3 pm. Next, invite employees to set the rest of their schedule. Early birds can start their day at 6 am, while working parents can plan to work around the summer camp schedules.
Not only does this flexibility boost morale, but it also means employees work when they’re at their best and ready to focus.
Create opportunities for employees to connect
The pandemic has taken its toll emotionally on the global population. Viviana Horigian and her colleagues at the department of public health at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found some impressing facts:
- 65 percent of people reported higher feelings of loneliness because of the pandemic
- 53 percent reported lower feelings of connectivity
Now that it’s safe for people to return to social activities and be around others, many are craving human interaction.
Create opportunities for employees to connect over the summer months with these ideas:
- Company-sponsored family picnic
- Workplace happy hour
- Field trip to the beach or other local venues
- A fabulous teambuilding like our 4PSA team had 🙂
With more employees on vacation, team members will have to connect with other workers who they normally wouldn’t talk to. This can also improve collaboration in the future because they will connect with more of their co-workers.
Try to host multiple teambuilding activities throughout the summer. That way people can attend them when they’re available and can choose which events they like best. Not everyone wants to attend a beach day or join a kickball league.
Make this summer special!
The summer slowdown may have everyone working a little less and enjoying some vacation time, but that doesn’t mean the workplace needs to come to a halt.
Use this time to help employees connect with workplace-sponsored events and improve their individual skills while focusing on internal projects.
All of this, paired with a flexible schedule, gives employees an opportunity to stay productive while easing back into the workplace and enjoying the post-pandemic summer.