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5 Ways To Lead Your Team through Summer Doldrums

When summertime rolls around companies struggle to keep their employees alert and focused, instead of daydreaming about their after-work plans.

However, as many turn to summertime hours for a solution, the results are less than ideal: studies cite decreased productivity and increased stress levels at work given summertime hours.*

So how do you fix this long standing issue and get back to a healthy work environment and a high project turnaround?

Create competitive incentives.

“First one to close a deal can go to the beach.”  Depending on the nature of your business, you can incentivize your employees to be ultra-productive by inspiring a little fun competition.

This type of incentive should be used once a week at most-not daily.  You can do this in teams or individually.

I promise you’ll see your staff making cold calls, reviving old business, even researching new leads from LinkedIn and Facebook.  They’ll use all of their skills in order to switch out their business suit for a bathing suit.

Assign summer book reports.

Ideally, you want your staff to be up on all the latest industry strategies and techniques, but during the year it’s often impossible to get your employees to work on their own professional development.

So, since you need to continually develop your talent anyway, summertime is a great chance to do it. Assign your staff reading material: business books, customer service How-To’s, sales tip sheets, etc.

Every Friday, have a few of them do a presentation that also educates the rest of the staff on their findings.

Forget Fridays.

In some offices, distraction on Fridays during the summer months is nearly impossible to overcome (often because bosses are too soft, but that’s another story).

Sometimes it’s better to stop fighting the tide and switch to four days a week. However, extend the day to 10 hours so that you aren’t losing any time.

However, studies show 58 percent decrease in productivity from summertime hours, so monitoring outcomes is the key to be sure your employees are still operating at full potential all 10 hours.*

Trade places.

In many of the businesses I consult, much of the workplace communication dilemmas stem from sections of the staff being almost completely unaware of how the other departments operate.

Organize a few cross-departmental days for your employees to see how the other half lives.  Let them experience each other’s challenges and you’ll find that they’ll have more compassion for their fellow employee.

Be a role model.

Seeing your boss slack off when your temptation is already great is similar to having the teacher in grade school that stopped assigning work in the summertime-mayhem.

Although you may feel as a higher-up or CEO that you deserve a break (although you most likely do), skip the extra vacation days and show your employees that work goes on.

Set the president for summertime focus and turn to initiatives, exciting new projects, or a change-up in the work environment to hold focus instead.

Overall, summertime initiatives/hours should allow opportunities for your employees to earn more for increasing productivity. Implement a special summertime compensation plan or bonus package for reaching great results.

By making small shifts in your business model you can actually trick your employees into being more productive this summer. July and August are the ideal times to beta test some of the more ‘creative’ employee motivation techniques. I guarantee that you’ll even find a few that you’ll want to implement all year round.

Read more posts by Thomas La Vecchia, sales expert. Thomas blogs for JenningsWire.