During the hot summer months, it's difficult for any team to maintain the same level of focus and productivity. With the sun shining bright and vacation time on everyone's minds, most office workers oscillate between their natural urge to chill out and enjoy the summer and the need to work harder and make up for what is considered a less productive period. To ensure summer slump doesn't affect company operations and revenue, business owners must be proactive and take steps to maintain employee engagement and efficiency.
These five entrepreneurs share some of the tactics they use to keep their staff focused and productive -- even when the weather is hot and everyone is daydreaming about time away from work.
Give them more flexibility.
A more flexible schedule that allows employees to get away from the office can go a long way toward restoring your team's focus. Beck Bamberger, founder and CEO of BAM Communications, trusts her employees to work remote for a week, as long as they are still making themselves available to the team.
"We've piloted a great quarterly perk that costs zero dollars to do and keeps people happy to explore new places: remote week. If your team is solid and accountable, dedicate a week every quarter when everyone in the office is remote," she says. It's important to have clear rules in place "so that employees can count on others to pick up the phone or reply to a Slack message during set 'business hours,' and thus not abuse the perk."
Don't fight their desires.
"People always want what they can't have far more than what they can. Don't fight the natural urge to be outside in summer weather," says Justin Faerman, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine. Maintaining a rigid schedule and policing your employees into doing their work at the office simply won't cut it. If anything, it will have the opposite effect.
"Give your employees the option to work outside, take an extended outdoor break or simply take a company outing into nature," he says. "Once people get it out of their systems and see that you care about their needs, productivity will skyrocket along with their gratitude."
Emphasize team culture and mission.
But not all teams require additional motivation to get their work done despite summer distractions. With enough emphasis on team culture and mission, and by hiring wisely, you can trust your employees to continue working responsibly even when it's hot outside, according to Alexandra Levit, founder of PeopleResults.
"I use the summer months to reiterate how much I value a team that enjoys working and being together, a team that knows when it's time to buckle down and focus on business outcomes and when it's time to relax and have a little fun," says Levit. "For example, if we need to make progress on a goal, I might take everyone to a beautiful place to discuss it, but then ensure that we all leave with action items."
Schedule weekly meetings.
Andy Karuza, founder of FenSens, believes that one way of keeping your team's head in the game during the summer is by organizing weekly progress evaluation meetings. "Make sure you have a meeting at the beginning of the week to assign tasks and then a closing meeting on Fridays to follow up with the week's progress," he says.
"This is a high-touch method that keeps employees accountable and communication about their responsibilities clear," he adds, further emphasizing the need to clearly articulate every task and goal. "If anything is ambiguous, it's easy for employees to get distracted with non-work-related activities."
Use performance management software.
If all else fails and your team still has a hard time staying productive despite your best efforts, you should consider using a performance management tool. Michael Averto, CEO and co-founder of ChannelApe, has already tested this option and "found that using performance management software helps employees focus."
"Settings clear goals with deadlines makes it easy for employees to focus on what matters so there are no excuses when the deadline comes," says Averto. "I recently had an employee hit a a sales goal two weeks early because the software created weekly reminders about their progress."