The long days, warm sun, and blue skies of the summer season may bring in a tide of relaxed attitudes and an atmosphere of general well-being. But this season, as all experienced managers know, can be very hard on productivity. Happy workers are not always as diligent and focused as we’d like. This doesn’t mean we need to stem the tide of positive energy and crack down on wandering minds and “mental health days.” We just need to find a way to turn this lazy hazy vibe to our advantage. Here are a few tips that can help managers keep project goals on track when vacation season sets in.
Maintaining Productivity During the Summer: Considerations
1. Stay on top of vacation scheduling. The vast majority of vacation, leave time, and PTO hours are requested between the months of May and September. So make sure that you implement policies requiring plenty of notice when employees schedule multi-day vacations, and make sure you avoid excessive overlap.
2. Don’t crack down. Find a way to keep the dress code in effect and keep vacation requests organized without coming off as frantic or over-aggressive. If you need to issue a reprimand for Monday morning lateness or inappropriate footwear, do so privately, and don’t send out an angry, company-wide reminder. Keep your memos and messages restrained and respectful.
3. Acknowledge the pull of human nature. If employees are taking excessive lunches, rein in the offenders (again, privately), and offer an extended lunch break once a week for a group powerwalk or pizza delivery.
4. Show appreciation for the employees who stay noticeably focused. If you have a few steady team members who are never late and always judicious with leave time and project deadlines, reward them with gift certificates or choice parking. Engage competitive instincts by launching contests with prizes. Even a little extra verbal praise for your hardest workers can go a long way.
5. Instead of fighting the season, celebrate it with predetermined concessions to summer brain drain. Schedule a session of Friday afternoon mini golf, for example. Or offer a surprise Wednesday ice cream-run lasting no longer than an hour. Implement casual Fridays if you don’t offer them already. Organize themes like Hawaiian shirt day or funny hat day. This will help you acknowledge the need for summer fun while containing the potential fallout.
Still need help corralling wandering minds this season? The Des Moines, IA staffing experts at the Palmer Group have plenty of ideas. Reach out today and let us answer your HR and management questions.