Organisational Fitness

Workplace productivity: how to stay productive during summer

Lydia Watson

The days are long, the weather’s warm, and all free time is taken up with picnics, barbecues, and other fun-filled activities. For a lot of us, we’ve blocked weeks out for sunny trips – to everywhere from Margate to the Maldives. And that synchronised shift into summer can have an impact on business.

Productivity drops by 20%, and 45% of employees are more distracted, during the summertime. So it’s worth considering how summer can impact your organisation – and how to make the most of this time. 

Learn how to keep your employees engaged at work with our Employee Engagement Guide 

3 ways the summer could affect your business

1. Lots of people use annual leave simultaneously

Thanks to warmer weather and term times, chances are that you’ll have a lot of overlapping holidays in your workplace. Even if you restrict absences within teams, the office may feel empty – and projects will likely have to go on hold. 

Person A needs input from Person B, who’s away for a week, then Person A is on leave from when they return, so they need to wait another week to provide feedback – you get the idea.

How to address this: consider closing the office for a set amount of time (after both consulting your team and giving adequate notice, of course!). This means everyone returns refreshed to empty inboxes, reducing catch-up time, and you can schedule projects around this week-or-so off. Many companies in countries like Norway do this for up to a month!

2. School holidays means parents are stretched

In the UK, the school holidays are about 5-6 weeks long. That’s a long time to have your kids at home, if all parents/carers work full-time – and it’s not a period that most annual leave will cover. Summer clubs and camps are prohibitively expensive, too. 

For any employees with school-aged children on a summer break, it’s inevitable that this will affect their work output – from the stress of struggling to find childcare, to dealing with kids in the background of Zoom calls. 

How to address this: Be patient, and be flexible. From where employees work, to when they do, consider allowing flexible work. Maybe it’s allowing full-time remote work, early starts and finishes, or understanding if they ‘go dark’ for a few hours and catch up on work later. 

3. Hotter weather makes work conditions uncomfortable

As the climate crisis escalates, hotter weather won’t be unusual. And that means there may be days, or even weeks, where working (and commuting) conditions become particularly unbearable. While there are no legal limits when it comes to office temperatures, no-one’s doing their best work dripping at their desk.

Not to mention the unpleasantness of a steamy bus, tube, or train. Commuting in the peak of summer means your employees arrive disgruntled and dishevelled – it’s not a morale booster.

How to address this: keep the office cool, of course, but the concept of ‘summer hours’ in the workplace is also popular, with employees allowed to clock off early (or offered a half-day on Fridays). This means avoiding the heat of rush hour, and allowing people to have time to try and enjoy the warmer weather

3 productive things to do during summer

It’s going to be difficult to stick to ‘business as usual’ over the summer. So why not lean into that? Pause on your usual activities, and focus on the areas you can’t usually prioritise:

  1. Turn gaps into learning opportunities: one employee’s two-week holiday could be the perfect opportunity for another to learn some new skills. Look for a hunger to learn, and turn gaps in your usual output or activities into a learning and development opportunity.
  2. Use this time to plan for the future: in a month or two, you’ll have a full workforce – returned, refreshed and raring to go. So use this time to plan for the next quarter. Be ambitious with your goals, and set out a future agenda everyone can get excited about.
  3. Do ‘clean up’ and review processes: all those odd jobs you’ve been putting off? That handful of administrative tasks, the messy databases, and disorganised files – it’s a perfect time to work together to get everything shipshape, and check that everything’s working as it should

Now is also a good time to send an employee survey

If you’re taking time out to prepare for the post-summer period, then it’s the perfect time to check in with your staff. 

Here’s why:

  • Response rates may be higher, as employees aren’t stuck in projects 
  • You’ve got time to review the survey results, and really understand them
  • There’s enough time to design and communicate a practical action plan 
  • Everyone will start the new quarter with a clear idea of your direction 

Need another reason? Here’s an easy one: if you sign up to Qlearsite today, you can start sending surveys for free! Our platform is designed to be easy to use, with 20+ surveys to choose from, with all data analysed with you – so it’s easy to see what your employees are really saying. Try it today:

 

Faster, simpler surveys – get started for free 

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