Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Singing the Summer Blues

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Well peeps it's the beginning of July and I don't know about you but I'm definitely feeling the draw of summer break.  It got me thinking since I personally haven't had a "summer vacation" in the last twenty plus years; why is it that each July I have such a strong need to walk away from work and spend some down time recouping?

After doing a bit of web browsing I found that I'm not alone in experiencing summer doldrums.  It appears that employers across the board report a decrease in employee productivity during summer months.  Good news is I'm not alone - bad news is it's possible most of Corporate America is as tired, distracted and struggling to make it through the work day as I am; and that's not good for anyone.

So What's a Girl to Do?

There are quite a few articles out there discussing ways to combat this low summer productivity phenomenon.  One of those ideas is the concept of summer hours.  Surveys suggest that implementing summer hours actually increases productivity of employees. HR management theory has often extolled the positive results garnered by motivating employees through the implementation of incentives and summer hours are something that employees seem to appreciate.  Some investigations into this topic even profess that summer hours increases productivity along with employee satisfaction - creating a "win-win" for everyone involved.

Yet another method of increasing worker productivity during summer months is via telecommuting and flex schedules.  Flex time allows staff to work around their private and professional schedules during a season when these two can collide.  Proponents of these incentives claim that they find that employee productivity does not wane during the summer months and in some cases also increases along with employee satisfaction and loyalty.

Not An Option?

So if your place of business doesn't offer summer incentives how can you fight the summer doldrums?  Try scheduling some time off in the form of long weekends or a midweek break and stay home.  Make sure you take some time off that you schedule as recuperation time.  Don't take days off and fill them with activities or travel that will cause you to be more tired and distracted than when you began.

Try to leave early one day for a scheduled massage or pampering time.  Make it a point not to cram these treats into your schedule between appointments but savor the time you have with someone caring for you.

Listen to your body.  Check out this article on circadian rhythms and see if you can implement any of these tips to help you be more productive on your own schedule.  Work on important projects when you are most alert and schedule activities that require less brain power when your brain is less productive.

Initiate conversation on flex time or summer hours with your leadership.  Do some research of your own and see if you can help start a productivity increasing summer plan where you work.  If you do be sure to share with me how you did it!

It's Your Turn:

How do you combat the summer blues?  Leave your tips and suggestions below.  I for one am taking some stay-cation time at the end of the month.  Hopefully I will return rejuvinated and ready to go just in time for budget season!


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