5 tips to help keep your employees productive this summer
Plenty of people love summer, but the season typically sees a drop in productivity. What can organizations do to help everyone stay productive and beat the summer slump?
As a business, avoiding productivity dips during the summer months can be challenging, so new strategies need to be implemented in order to ensure there isn’t a drop in employee engagement and motivation.
And this goes beyond the concerns of the CEO or VP of Operations; internal communicators also have to think about the summer productivity slump because vacations, school holidays, fatigue, and warm weather can all make it difficult to get the attention and engagement your content deserves.
Does summer make us less productive at work?
For many of us, when the sun is beaming, the office (and the commute) begins to feel less appealing. For those working remotely, it may be tempting to spend more time in the garden than the home office too.
Research has shown that rising temperatures make it more challenging to work.
Why does summer make us less productive? Partly because heat decreases brain functionality, causing a struggle with precise logic tasks.
And it’s not just work. Researchers found that high temperatures can reduce mental performance and impact a driver’s ability to make quick decisions on the road. So, if employees are facing a lack of energy and motivation, there could be a scientific basis for it, rather than a diminishing desire to work.
14 steps to great internal communications
The hot weather, upcoming vacations, and employees’ relaxed attitudes can result in a significant summer slump in productivity. While many businesses experience a drop in pipeline activity during the summer months, internal efficiency can also take a hit.
Digital media company Captivate found that summer causes a 20% drop in productivity on average. The same research also found that projects take 13% longer to complete than in the colder months.
How should internal communications reengage employees to make everyone more productive and get those important messages seen?
Five tips for productive summer communications
1) Develop a summer-specific plan
When the summer is coming up, it helps to plan, plan, plan. Factor vacations in to your internal communications strategy so that the Comms team will always have cover, and that everyone is aware of deadlines, targets, and news, so that goals are transparent despite vacation time. Taking leave is highly recommended for a good work-life balance, but the business must also stay on track during planned absences.
Summertime passes quickly, and without an established plan, there may be a scramble to catch up to targets or hit deadlines when the autumn comes around. A clearly communicated plan prevents this and ensures that the team continues to operate despite fluctuations in numbers. Organizing them in this way encourages collaboration and prevents information silos. It also gives others a chance for some more senior tasks outside their regular job description.
2) Be understanding about other commitments
Many employees take time off in the summer to look after their children during their school holidays, and it’s worth remembering that this disproportionately affects female workers.
Being understanding and flexible is an excellent way to demonstrate workplace inclusivity. Family responsibilities and managing work can be a headache, but a bit of flexibility without harming productivity can make all the difference. It shows staff that you appreciate and understand their position; that their family isn’t a problem.
14 steps to great internal communications
Trust employees to get tasks done, even if they have to work slightly odd hours for a period. Introducing flexibility and home working prevents unnecessary absences. It allows employees to remain productive and operate around their changing summer schedules. This workplace freedom prevents gaps in projects and helps employees to avoid using holiday time to cover for a more rigid schedule. Flexibility when working limits the amount of time off that staff need to take for childcare during the summer months.
3) Engage with employees on performance initiatives
The second half of the year (post-summer) is usually busy for many companies. To prepare for a late season busy period, time can be spent in the summer to ensure that a solid foundation is laid.
Utilize periods when teams aren’t full, or the pipeline is limited, to realign priorities and reassess any strategies. The slower summer months should be used to catch up on any projects that have fallen to the wayside. That could be a rebrand, increased employee training, or a creative session for future projects. Make sure to communicate any changes to the team and keep everyone concentrated on future deliverables.
It’s also an opportunity to focus on productive employee development and performance management. Now could be the time to reengage with workers and ensure that their progression is still on track within the organization. Review and evaluate yearly goals and tasks, with new support offered if needed. It’s essential to continue to invest in these employee practices, particularly to keep them motivated in their role and concentrating on the work ahead.
The summer months provide an optimal opportunity to direct employee attention to their own training and development, gaining some internal insights at the same time.
4) Have a summer party
Of course, getting the job done is essential, and those deadlines are never going away. But encouraging a little relaxation by hosting a summer party can give workers a welcome break and offer the chance to have some fun in the sun.
Hosting an event strengthens company culture and is a great example of employee recognition. Whether it is a daytime BBQ or a few after-work cocktails, summer socials are highly popular. They can also provide an opportunity for employees to get to know each other outside of the traditional workplace environment, creating positive energy among an increasingly dispersed cohort.
Take photos of the event and post them on the company intranet. People can then view them at their leisure and promote them to their own networks for increased employee advocacy.
You can also use them for internal communications, such as a yearly roundup or an email newsletter. They can also be utilized for external recruitment campaigns, to show off the exciting social environment of the business. Summer parties can have a significant impact on employee motivation and engagement. So, make the most out of the event, and enjoy the productivity increase as a result.
5) Supercharge your summer internal communications
With decreased numbers logging on, it might be tempting to let internal communications slip during the summer months. But this is a great time to encourage some fun, user-generated content.
If workers have traveled anywhere unique, ask them to write about it on the intranet. Promote special summer activities; whether it’s as simple as getting out for a trip to another office, some after-work drinks in the sun, or a company sports team winning a match. Don’t forget to mix the content production up. Encourage the use of photos and videos to really give internal communications a summery vibe.
Summer can bring distractions, so keep employees focused with internal communications. Aside from posting summer-themed content, use any spare time to reevaluate the internal communication strategy for the remaining year. Are employees engaging with the content, and does it represent the business in the best way possible? Is there anything else you could post to create an additional buzz around the intranet?
Use the quieter period as an opportunity to take a look at some existing internal communication practices and refresh them. By being flexible with staff, and rewarding them with a social outing or two, you can ensure that they are motivated and happy for the remainder of the year. Communicating and planning through the intranet means that even with spread-out teams and distractions, employees can stay on task and keep the business productive.