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This Week: Top 10 Ways to Beat the Summer Productivity Slump
Let's be honest: When the summer rolls around, your employees would much rather be out enjoying the gorgeous weather than toiling away at the office. Heck, maybe you yourself struggle with the summer productivity slump, which can lead to a 20 percent dip in workplace productivity.
Sadly, you can't close the office down from June to September. What you can do, though, is make a few strategic changes to the workday to encourage your employees to keep performing at their best, no matter how inviting the cloudless sky may seem. Here are ten of our favorite tips for beating the summer productivity slump:
1. Focus on Project-Based Work
Rather than trying to spin our wheels on small things that can easily be overlooked, we work toward measurable goals on projects. We give our employees a larger chunk of time in the summer, say three weeks, with a few check-ins and have them work toward bigger goals. By focusing on bigger tasks instead of small assignments, people have time to really think critically and work in a meaningful way. Since we allow for a larger period when things would be slow, employees have an opportunity to budget their time but with clear working objectives.
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— Alexandra Mayzler, Founder, Thinking Caps Group
2. Encourage Employees to Take Time Off
Seriously. Taking time off can actually lead employees to be more productive. For some companies, summer is slower than other seasons, so using PTO won't force other employees to pick up the slack. In fact, time away from the office can spark greater productivity once people return. At the same time, encouraging employees to take time off fosters an environment of trust. Employees shouldn't feel guilty about using vacation time, so encourage them to do so.
– Vip Sandhir, Founder and CEO, HighGround
3. Make the Office Summer as Active as Summer Outside the Office
Do things you don't normally do other times of the year. For example, you could host biweekly BBQs. Get your most seasoned grill master to help feed the troops.
You can also get employees moving by offering in-house yoga or exercise programs. These will help employees feel less cooped up. It can even be as simple as a scheduled weekly walk outside. The important thing is that employees are getting to move around and enjoy the fresh air.
Consider making every day a game. Create goal-oriented contests with tangible awards on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to keep the team on target. By making people's tasks into summer games, you are making work fun, even when your employees are not out in the sun.
— Vincent Nero, Vice President, Successories
4. Allow Flexible Work Options
Employees need flexibility in order to achieve work/life balance, especially during the summer, when children are out of school and childcare often falls to the working parent.
— Deb LaMere, Vice President of Employee Experience, Ceridian
5. Give Employees the Tools They Need to Stay Productive
We try to avoid the summer productivity slump altogether by providing our team with the tools they need to stay productive.
One of my favorites for managing my team and streamlining communication is Slack. Instead of trying to communicate through phone calls, texting, email, and Skype, everything runs smoothly because it's integrated directly into the app. I also really like the ability to send emojis, memes, and GIFs, which really helps our team take the edge off and have a little fun while working.
— Dan Roberge, President, Maintenance Care
6. Channel Distracted Discussions Into Teamwork
A tip I swear by is channelling distracted discussions into teamwork. If you feel yourself drifting from your work, there's no doubt other colleagues feel the same. So, use this to your advantage and brainstorm ideas surrounding a project you're working on. After all, the best ideas come to light when we are relaxed.
— Steve Pritchard, HR Consultant, Anglo Liners
7. Turn Up the Volume
Music is a great way to build culture and make the workplace a fun environment. Try Monday morning pump-up jams and encourage folks to showcase their own musical tastes.
— Jordan Wan, Founder and CEO, CloserIQ
8. Get on the Phone
The best thing for navigating through a productivity slump is to jump on the phone with your colleagues and brainstorm. These types of conversations will help you overcome the slump by getting back to the human experience of collaborating, chatting, and brainstorming in the "town square."
— Iain Scholnick, Founder and CEO, Braidio
9. Break Your Work Into Bite-Sized Chunks
It is better to work in short bursts of intense productivity and then take a short break and start something new. If you break your work into bite-sized chunks of time, you won't get bored. Also, if there is something you would procrastinate on, have someone else break it into bite-sized chunks and check up on your progress. Do your tedious tasks when there is no one else around, as it will keep you from getting distracted.
— Grainne Kelly, Founder, BubbleBum
10. Embrace It – Just a Little
I think we're just essentially embracing the summer slump by giving our team Friday afternoons off. Most people aren't working by 2:00 p.m. on a Friday anyway. This has bought us some serious good will with our employees with negligible cost.
– Molly Gravholt, CFO, Community Health Charities