Amy Marcum | Insperity
With warmer temperatures and longer days, the summer months can often be a time for employees to relax and recharge by spending more time away from the office. However, while half days, long weekends and family vacations are beneficial to employees, they can be challenging for company leaders to navigate.
The season can easily become an unproductive time for businesses as an uptick in requests for time off may mean fewer people in the office. Below are five steps business leaders can take to help avoid drops in employee engagement, focus and morale during the summer months.
Establishing clear expectations and policies around time off can help businesses prepare for periods of reduced staffing and maintain productivity during the summer. Without a proper policy in place, workers may attempt to take vacation time with little or no advance warning, leading to frustration between managers and their employees. To prevent this, policies should be distributed to every team member well in advance of the summer season detailing the process to request time off, important project deadlines and other relevant information about the process.
Although client needs, deadlines and projects remain the top priority, encouraging a little fun in the workplace can help keep engagement high and promote a positive office environment. Company-endorsed social events, whether in or outside of the office, can help workers overcome the summer slump. Activities that celebrate summer, such as a company picnic or an ice cream social, may foster employee involvement and encourage collaboration.
Clients may also use the summer months as a time to plan vacations and take time away from the office. In turn, managers should consider implementing flexible perks such as half-day Fridays or remote working days. This can give employees time for themselves while ensuring productivity remains high. Alternatively, employers that may need to restrict time off for staffers could consider granting more vacation time during other seasons to balance requests and give employees time away.
Technology can often blur the line between work and personal time, especially while employees are on vacation. However, with school out of session and easier travel due to weather, summer is often the best time for employees to spend time with family or friends. When possible, managers should encourage employees to unplug from work-related responsibilities in order to give them a chance to recharge in advance of the next busy season.
For some businesses, operations slow down during the summer, presenting valuable time to get ahead of upcoming projects and plan for the remainder of the year. The second half of the year can feel like the busiest for many companies, making the quieter summer months a perfect time to prepare. Managers should communicate the priorities and deliverables to ensure this process is successful and keep all team members aligned with company objectives.
Each business has different challenges and opportunities, so it is crucial that managers determine what will work best for their employees, the corporate culture and the demands of their office. Although often maligned as a slow, unproductive time, the summer months have the potential to be a great opportunity to encourage teambuilding, show employees recognition for their hard work throughout the year, and a chance to get ahead of the game or catch up on work.
Amy Marcum is a senior human resource specialist with Insperity. Insperity provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. For more information, visit http://www.insperity.com.
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