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We are officially in the heat of the summer, and with this time of year comes vacation and extra days off for many employees within your company. Does summertime mean an automatic reduced amount of productivity within most companies? One study suggests yes, in fact, there may be up to a 20% reduction in productivity across the entire company when the sun starts to shine.
How do you, as a manager or business owner, ensure that work is getting done effectively and that you are able to manage your business when you have employees taking time off throughout the summer?
The first thing to think about is the culture of your company. If you are a small business where employees feel like family, there’s a sense of expectation and respect when it comes to taking time off. An employee taking a week off to take their family down to Disneyland is going to consider how their time off will affect their coworkers. As part of a larger company or group, there’s a little bit less of a feeling that an employee taking time off will burden other employees. The culture around taking vacation time is important. You may find that allowing employees to take half days, or encouraging them to take smaller vacations will allow you, as a business owner, to manage time off in a less stressful way.
Take a hard look at your time off and vacation policy. Most companies require employees to request time off with two or three weeks notice. During the summer time, often events come up quickly and employees may want to take a Friday off so that they can go to the beach. When an employee is not looking at the clock, counting down the next two weeks before they take a vacation, and instead knows that they could take Friday off when the weather is good, that keeps them more engaged.
Try offering incentives during the summer time. If it’s important in your business for work to continue being done quickly and at a high level, this may be the time of year to offer incentives. It’s a nice time of year that offsets the winter holiday bonus. Employees may see an opportunity to work harder in order to make a little extra money during the summer time.
Overall, a more flexible work schedule during the summer will likely benefit everyone in your company. If employees know that they can work from home or remotely one day a week, that gives them more incentive to work even harder when they are together with the team. Keeping tabs on remote workers can seem if difficult, but if you have the right work ethic and culture built into your company, it can work.
Let’s talk about the fun things you can do during the summer time to bring some excitement to your company. Has your company considered sponsoring a softball or kickball team? This can be a great way to build culture and it’s a great way for employees to get to know each other better out of the office. Perhaps going out for a meeting to a local coffee shop every two weeks on a certain day would make sense to give people a more relaxed meeting environment. If you have recently achieved something amazing, a new client or a big company win, take some time to celebrate with the team on a Thursday at 3:00 at your favorite kick back and relax spot in town.
Regardless of what industry you are in or how big your company is, work during the summer will likely be different than it is throughout the rest of the year. Take a step back and look at your paid time-off policies, and the culture within your company. Being flexible and having some compassion during the summer time, surrounded by clear expectations of quality and on-time work will make the summertime work environment much more productive.
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