All our lives we have been told to kick back and chillax (chill + relax) during the summertime. Summer is our reward for making it through the rough winter months. As kids we live for summer breaks, and parents take time off work for vacations during the summer. Amusement parks and water parks are packed with visitors, and most cities have summer festivals and outdoor activities. However, there is one thing that takes a serious hit during the summer and that’s ‘>workplace productivity.

According to a study by Captivate Network called “Captivate Office Pulse Finds Summer Hours are Bad for Business”, workplace productivity drops 20%, there is a 19% decrease in attendance, projects take 13% longer to complete, and 45% of workers are more distracted during the summer months. Whether or not the company offers flexible hours, productivity goes down according to a Business Insider article called “Some Shocking Facts About How Much Lazier Workers Get During The Summer.”

The reasons for the loss in productivity are simple:

  • Longer days with more sunlight promote daydreaming and visions of frolicking outdoors. And high temperatures and humidity sometimes make it too hot to concentrate on tasks at hand.
  • Another huge factor is summer vacations. With staff members taking time off to go to the beach and relax, the office can look awfully desolate. Teams shrink in size while projects and tasks get proportionally bigger.

So how can you deal with all of these different forces wreaking havoc on your workplace?

  1. First, just understand that you will never be able to prevent a summertime lull, but you can manage it. Now it’s time to get creative. I suggest you ‘>relax your dress code policy for the summer months. No need to have your employees sweat out their nice pants suits and dress shirts. Go with business casual for the summer.
  2. When the vacation requests come in, try to stagger them. Most employees use the off-season to request time off during the summer, and you should ‘>develop a vacation scheduling system that sets a threshold for vacation approvals. Many companies hire temporary staff or contract workers to fill in for the summer months – which is a great idea. Using a non-traditional workforce can help minimize a loss in production. Also, summer internships can be very valuable for both students and employers. The students get valuable experience in the real world and the company gets more help. It also gives the company a chance to evaluate new talent and possibly develop some succession planning.
  3. My final suggestions for managing the summertime workplace blahs are to first think of safety and then to ‘>have a little fun (be creative). To avoid overheating, provide cool drinks to hydrate your team members, and make sure the air conditioning is working in all areas of the building, as well as any company vehicles. Here’s the fun part. Everyone likes to play games and compete. Competition is healthy, so why not gamify some of your processes and add incentives. For example, you could divide the staff into teams—even have them wear different colored shirts—and make achieving daily performance goals a competition. The winning team gets a prize or reward. By adding gamification metrics to work processes, they can become less of a task and more enjoyable. It also breaks up the monotony in the office, and boosts morale and engagement.

Use the comments section below and tell us about your strategies for boosting employee productivity during the summertime.

Chris Fields

Chris Fields is an HR professional and expert resume writer with more than 13 years of experience as a former practitioner and current HR consultant. He is the curator of two websites: CostofWork.com and ResumeCrusade.com , and contributes HR-focused content to many others, including PerformanceICreate.com and SmartRecruiters.com . He has been listed by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts to Follow on Twitter”, one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the HR Blogger Network, one of the “25 Must-Read HR Blogs in 2013”, and also featured on Oprah.com. He is very active with the Society of Human Resource Management, working closely with conference directors, communication chairs, and social media teams from Illinois, Oklahoma, and Tennessee to develop social strategies to engage attendees and enhance their conference experience. Chris earned his master’s degree in Labor and Human Resources from Ohio State University. In 2005, he moved back to his hometown of Memphis, TN, where he has developed a reputation for helping his clients create HR strategies, and individuals master the tough economic challenges of the South.

3 Comments

  • Avatar Maria Palls says:

    I think the working atmosphere should be more relaxed during summer time. Employees should be given more flexibility in terms of work; more freedom in deciding what projects to work on, etc. As a manager, I realize that during summertime employees are more relaxed and never get too demanding during this time.

  • Avatar Alan F. says:

    Our company is always having interns during summer times. This is a great way to involve students and get them more experienced. Current employees are also more motivated when they know they have to teach the students and to show them how things are working. Interns bring a lot of enthusiasm and energy into the workplace.

  • Avatar Kinzy Oliver says:

    It’s a fact that during summer time the atmosphere is more relaxed. That’s way I think this is the best time for gamification. This concept is about creativity, fun and an excellent way of making your employees connect beyond their tasks. For some of them gamification can mean getting away from their comfort zone because they are used to come at work, do their tasks and leave. Give them something more than work and you’ll be amazed by the results. So, let’s work through playing!

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