5 Ways to Make Sure Summer Vacations Don’t Kill Team Productivity
It’s the time of year when we try to make the most of the precious 8 weeks of summer. As a leader, it’s easy to treat summer as something to coast through until the busy fall season arrives, given so many schedules are off their normal rhythm.
Studies suggest that workplace productivity drops an average of 20% during the summer months. When September arrives, will you be asking yourself “What was her name again? What were we working on?”
Summer doesn’t have to be a productivity graveyard! There are easy ways to maintain productivity and team momentum. The key is to leverage the tension between summer being a flexible and fun time of year AND a time to be structured and deliberate about things to ensure people stay engaged and productive.
Here are 5 tips for how to fully embrace the fun and flexibility of the summer without your team falling apart by Labour Day:
1. HAVE FUN AT WORK – We’ve talked about the importance of having fun at work before. When you find ways to bring a little enjoyment and surprise into the lives of team-mates who aren’t on vacation, they won’t feel so bad about having to hold down the fort. This can include simple things like bringing in ice-cream or a food-truck one afternoon, casual Fridays (or more often depending on your business), or a potluck picnic outside where colleagues can connect and get to know one another better.
2) TETHER THE TEAM – Appoint someone to record all of the scheduled vacation time in a shared calendar, so your team can plan their timely or collaborative projects accordingly. Providing this schedule to the whole team can keep members from feeling left high and dry when due dates approach.
3) LET PEOPLE BE OFF…FOR REAL! – When people are away, let them truly be away. Hold off on emailing them directly, and don’t text them! Set norms in your office that allow people to truly rest and rejuvenate- and not feel guilty about it.
4) KEEP MEETING – Don’t ‘skip’ meetings just because some people will be away. Keep regular meetings as scheduled, even if there are only a few people in attendance. Take advantage of the smaller group to check-in with people on a deeper level than the larger group allows – this can also help quieter team members feel heard. You might even find this brings about new perspectives or ideas!
5) BE FLEXIBLE – So many jobs can be done from anywhere, anytime. When possible, offer this scheduling option for the summer months. Perhaps employees can come in early and leave early? Or allow employees to work longer days and take Friday afternoon off.
When employees know you’re working to ensure they don’t miss out on summer fun, they’ll be more positive, more focused, and more productive. Try and use the relaxed, slower pace of these months to offer some unique approaches in the workplace that will help bring the fun of summer into your office without killing productivity.
Associate, Leaders for Leaders
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