Summer Productivity

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The sun is shining, children are out of school, the beach is packed and your employees are planning their upcoming vacations – yes, summer is officially upon us! But how does the sunny season affect your business?

According to a study conducted in 2010 by Captivate Network, workplace productivity drops by about 20 percent during the summer months of June, July and August. Work attendance also decreases by 19% and projects (on average) take more time to complete. This is because employees tend to be distracted or more likely out of the office during the summer.

What can you do, as an employer, to minimize these negative effects? Here are some do’s and don’ts for the season:

Do plan ahead: Although it is inevitable that employees will take time off to travel, make sure to discuss traveling dates with your employees a couple of months in advance to ensure there is not too much overlap within departments. By coordinating dates with your employees, you are not only displaying your accommodating nature but also minimizing productivity losses by making sure you’re not too understaffed during the season.

Do plan outdoor activities: There’s no rule that states that you can’t enjoy the hot weather and work! Perhaps coordinate a BBQ lunch outside with your employees, or an after-work happy hour at a local bar with an outdoor patio. By planning activities for your employees, you provide incentives to not only come to work, but also be excited about it. Maybe even collectively work outside one day a week. According to Harvard physician Eva M. Selhub, working outside reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and improves immune functions. Remember, a healthy employee translates to a more productive employee!

Do try and bring summer to the office: While it’s difficult to fully enjoy summer and work full-time, you can bring a little bit of summer into your workplace. For example, fruit-infused water coolers are a great way to bring those relaxing summertime vibes into your office! Office plants are also a good idea — not only for summer, but for all seasons. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Queensland in Australia, the presence of office greenery increases concentration and creates a less stressful environment for workers. It also boosts productivity by at least 15 percent. So the next time you’re out shopping, stop by a gardening store and pick up some indoor greenery!

–  Don’t forget to hire interns!: Interns are a great way to complete all the administrative tasks in the office and handle special “back burner” projects. This way your employees can focus on higher-level, more pressing responsibilities. Furthermore, many high school and college interns are merely looking for experience or college credit, so the expense to bring them on for the summer may be minimal. An intern is a great resource, especially if you’re a little understaffed when employees are out enjoying their summer vacation.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated!: Although this seems somewhat obvious, this is too important of a point to be glossed over, as staying hydrated makes the workplace a safer and healthier place. Dehydration can adversely impact one’s ability to get work done and cooperate with co-workers. It also makes you more tired, which inherently makes you less productive — so make sure that your water coolers are always full, especially during those scorching summer months!

Don’t sweat the small stuff: Although easier said than done, try to understand that the summer inevitably brings about changes that can reduce your firm’s productivity. Refrain from getting upset when an employee discusses their upcoming vacation or comes a little late into work. Just remember that everyone needs a break once in awhile and allowing employees to take their vacations during the summer will make them more productive all-year-round!

By taking these small, yet thoughtful, initiatives to bring about positive changes in the office, you demonstrate you are dedicated to creating a more enjoyable environment in your office. Although it’s no day at the beach, working for an employer who truly cares about their employees is a great motivator to make workers bring their A-game to work every day!