The summer sun is slanting through the plastic blinds of the office and the grey cubicles are bathed in a happy light. Casual Friday hems are moving north of the knee. Beautiful weekends seem to result in a rash of mysterious sick days on Monday. And on some especially lovely afternoons, the office is a ghost town by 4:59.
What’s going on? Summer in the workplace, that’s what. A beautiful season for life, fun, family, friends and fresh air. But not such a beautiful season for bottom lines.
When the summer starts rolling in and you have a business to run, your valuable human capital starts to seem a little less valuable. Daydreams set in, lunch hours get longer, and vacation schedules don’t always coordinate with company needs. So what can you do to keep your team engaged and focused between now and September? Try these helpful tips.
Keep Employees Focused During the Summer Months
1. Pick your battles. Don’t try to win every single warm weather-related conflict. If you really feel that sandals represent a serious dress code violation and undermine productivity, take action. But be realistic and be willing to let some things slide. At the same time, when you’ve chosen to crack down on a certain issue, stand firm.
2. Control vacation schedules. Make sure you have a protocol in place for requesting time off and make sure your employees understand and follow it. Don’t let the stress of managing overlapping vacations get the best of you, and don’t let it compromise your commitment to your clients and customers.
3. Anticipate trouble ahead of time. If you know that a popular baseball game will happen next Friday and you suspect that many employees intend to leave early, put a plan in place to make sure the work gets done. Announce your plan to your employees well before the afternoon of the big game.
4. Make use of your mobile resources. The magic of modern technology allows us to stay in touch with employees when they’re on the go. So don’t just ignore that phone or Blackberry. Pick it up and reach out. Everyone in the office—including you—can get more done when communication and file sharing happen from anywhere.
5. Recognize that in the long run, employees who feel respected and trusted will work harder, care more, and demonstrate greater loyalty than those who feel oppressed or treated like children. Rein in the urge to become a dictator, and give your employees enough time to balance work and life. If you do this, they’ll pay you back by being better adjusted, better able to make commitments on their own terms, and more likely to think about work when they aren’t physically in the office.
For more help with staffing, retention and talent management, talk to the experts at Merritt. We can help you keep your company goals on track no matter the season.