Since the stiffness of regular life is usually what people are trying to shed during the summer slump, letting the office be a little more casual during the warmer months can help.
The dreaded summer slump. It’s what we experience once winter wanes and the warm temperatures of summer rise. Concentrating on anything besides having fun can be a challenge. Work seems to feel like a particular drag when summer comes. Whether in the office or at home, being at work keeps us indoors when we’d rather be outside.
This is common – even in “normal” years, much less this summer. With COVID restrictions easing up, we’re headed into what could be the most active summer we’ve had in years.
The desire to get outside combined with a growing restlessness that can lead to distractions at work is known as the summer slump. The summer slump phenomenon has presented issues for HR professionals and leaders at companies big and small for years. Here’s what business leaders can do to help keep their employees engaged as Summer 2022 begins.
Remember, the summer slump is temporary
Keep in mind that the summer slump is seasonal and temporary. If your employees seem to be slacking during the summer, consider what might be behind it. It may not really be a personal lack of motivation – it’s more likely the “summer slump.”
Of course, if issues persist for months and months, the problem will need to be addressed. But if you notice productivity shrinking during the summer, try not to be alarmed. It will pass with the weather, and soon enough, things will return to normal.
In the meantime, the best thing you can do about the summer slump is work with it rather than against it.
One of the best ways that you can get employees to focus on work is to give them plenty of time away from it. That’s why you should encourage your employees to use their vacation time. This way, they can scratch the itch they have for summer adventure, so it distracts them less from work when they are in the office.
When your employees have time for the self-care they need, they can come back to work rejuvenated, armed with fresh ideas and perspectives. Vacation gives people the time off to do whatever they need to keep their creative juices flowing. It could be they need:
Without time off, people grow tired, which leads to exhaustion and burnout over time.
Lean into the summer slump with Summer Fridays
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
It’s not just employees who suffer from the summer slump. Everyone (leaders and management included) is susceptible to the need to be doing anything besides work during the summer.
There’s a reason why most of Europe takes all of August off — productivity drops by an estimated 20% during the summer. So why not just lean into it?
Summer Fridays are a scheduling policy that gives workers Fridays off in the summer. Adopting this practice can go a long way in keeping people focused and happy when they are at work. Especially if your small business struggles to keep up with the big benefits of major corporations, perks like Summer Fridays can add to your competitiveness in the talent pool.
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Make work more active than usual
Even with Summer Fridays and plenty of vacations, there simply is no way around the fact that you still have work that needs to be done through the summer. Still, there’s no reason your business can’t make the most of summer when it comes to work and its activities.
Try hosting company lunches or even conducting meetings outside when possible. If you’ve been planning team-building activities or an off-site, try integrating outdoor activities as much as possible. Have a company-wide family picnic.
Alternatively, you consider covering sign-up fees for employees who want to create a team and join a summer sports league.
Summer is also a great time to send employees to conferences and the like. Especially with the rise of “bleisure” travel — the blending of work travel with personal travel — summer is a great time to focus on professional development opportunities. Boosting work travel during the summer gives your employees the chance to work in a more active way and add vacations to the trip they’re taking anyway.
Implement a summer dress code
Even small things like being able to wear slightly more casual (yet still professional) clothes to the office can help with the summer slump. It’s essential to outline what exactly will and won’t work for summer dress with a summer dress code. This keeps everything organized and everyone on the same page. But especially when there aren’t client meetings, what harm does it do to let people wear t-shirts in the office?
Relaxing your dress code for the summer helps bring that relaxed summer vibe into the office. Since the stiffness of regular life is usually what people are trying to shed during the summer slump, letting the office be a little more casual during the warmer months can help.
A relaxed dress code makes it easier for employees to be in the office on beautiful sunny summer days.
It also makes working more comfortable when the temperatures climb.
The summer slump is here
After what we’ve all experienced these last few years, we’re all looking for as much ease in our lives as possible.
All things come in seasons. Remember that rest and relaxation are also critical components of sustained productivity.
Lean into the summer slump. Let it pass. Everyone will be ready to be focused and get back to regular productivity in the fall.