The summer months can be a challenging time for SME businesses, especially those in industries that experience seasonal fluctuation, where reaping maximum revenue is crucial for the rest of the year.
However, summer isn’t a productive time for your employees, with studies showing that productivity can dip by up to 20% with projects taking up to 13% longer to complete than other periods of the year.
So, as a business owner during this time, what can you do to ensure that you’re able to maintain business operations, meet customer demand and remain competitive in a period where it’s harder for your employees to remain focused and productive? Richard LeCount is an experienced entrepreneur and businessman and is the Founder and Managing Director of usbmakers.com, here he explains.
How Can You Improve Team Productivity in Summer?
Of course, there are some things that are unavoidable, such as your team heading away on holiday or struggling with restless nights during the heat, so it’s important to remember that it’s very unlikely you’ll reach full capacity during the summer, but there are a few things you can do to encourage your team to go the extra yard.
Offer flexible schedules
Commuting can be a difficult task during the warm summer mornings, particularly for your team members that have a longer commute, and this does have a knock on impact on concentration and focus for the rest of the day.
Although offering flexible schedules must suit the needs of the business, they are a great way to ensure that everyone can balance their health and wellbeing, and continue to be fresh and focused too.
There are a number of ways you might wish to consider doing this:
- Allow your team to work from home.
- Changing hours to allow work during the cooler periods of the day.
- Shortening the working day to allow the team to miss busy rush hours.
- Allowing longer lunch breaks for more social activity within the team.
By doing this, you allow all of your team the time and space they need to work around the heat, any family commitments (such as school holidays), and other aspects of working in the summer to increase focus and productivity.
Host team building activities
The summer is a great time to get together as a team to enjoy the outdoors with activities such as picnics, quad biking, sports and whatever else your team might like to do.
Even if you don’t have the time or budget to do anything big, it’s still important to encourage your employees to take regular breaks and enjoy the sights and sounds of summer – that could even mean encouraging them to work outdoors where possible.
Other than it being fantastic for overall mental and physical health, being outdoors helps to motivate and energise the team.
Decorate the office
When the weather is nice out, we all feel that FOMO when we’re stuck in the office, so why not bring the summer indoors?
You could do this in any way that suits your style and branding, but this could include:
- Adding colourful artwork, plants and flowers.
- Playing upbeat music.
- Encourage as much light as possible – this could mean adding more ambient lighting, or even simply pulling back the shades.
You may also wish to open this to the floor too, by encouraging your staff to decorate their desks in any way they see fit to add pops of colour and unique accents around the room.
Create a space conducive to productivity
It’s more important than ever in summer to ensure that everyone in the office is as comfortable as possible – particularly on very hot days.
If you aren’t able to be flexible with hours. then it’s important to consider making changes where you can to ensure everyone can work comfortably.
You could do this by:
- Offering free cool drinks and hydrating snacks
- Giving everyone a fan for their desk
- Agree on a specific temperature for the air-con
- Allowing shorter days to help everyone avoid the commutes
- Relaxing any dress code
Reward hard work
Of course, this is something we should be doing anyway, but it can often be overlooked in the summer.
Knowing that their hard work is appreciated whatever the weather, will give the team a massive boost to help keep them focused.
These perks might include:
- Days off, half days or even early finishes on Fridays will be appreciated by your staff, particularly those with busy social lives.
- Free wellness programmes such as yoga, gym passes, mediation sessions or mindfulness classes, can help to energise the mind and avoid that sluggish summer feeling.
- Money off vouchers, those that play well in the summer such as wine tastings, meals out, and outdoor activities, will be appreciated.