HR · 24 June 2016

Five ways to boost productivity over the summer

summer
It can be hard to motivate staff when they would rather be by the pool

The summer period means months of disruption for many micro business owners, with staff jetting off here, there and everywhere. For those left, tempting sunny afternoons could be a productivity minefield. But it is possible to defy the stereotypes of stuffy offices and lazy summer days  – these tips should help you reverse a summer slump.

Flexi-time

When the sun is beaming down outside it can be awfully hard to motivate yourself for a day cooped up in an office – give us a dull Monday afternoon any time, when it comes to getting stuff done. So this is where flexible working hours can be really well received.

Something that is proving increasingly popular is the ability to work longer hours during the week, and leave a few hours early on Friday – in the summer months this can be just the ticket to ease people nicely into the weekend. Just make sure everyone knows what they’re doing, and where they stand, and flexible working could well make summer that bit sunnier.

Head outdoors

If the sun’s out, then why not take advantage? Heading outdoors for a lunch break, or even a meeting, can provide a much-needed change of scenery. You can then come back into the office feeling refreshed and restored. It’s also a great way to take advantage of the good weather – so you don’t feel like you’re missing out.

If you want to go the whole hog, why not try a walking meeting? Enterprise innovator Nilofer Merchant recommends them as a great way to get you thinking more creatively. Again, they also allow you to enjoy the great outdoors, get your work done and be a bit healthier too.

Check the temperature

If the sun does eventually come out, then make sure you aren’t working in a stifling environment. Heat can make people unproductive; generally, office temperatures need to remain within 16-27°C for everyone to work at their best. This guide to warm workplaces will be worth checking out if the mercury rises.

One specific piece of advice would be for bosses to relax dress codes in the summer months. Staff may well find they are more productive if they aren’t uncomfortable in their work apparel.

Cut down on wasted desk space

Of course, an alternative way to make your office space itself more productive is to monetise the spare desks left behind when people head off for their holidays. In London one single desk in a shared office, on average, can be priced at £400, so even a couple of empty desks for a few months could bring in a few thousand pounds.

This could be slightly tricky to manage: One option might be to introduce hot-desking for permanent staff – who can swap desks from a set bank while colleagues are away. This might free up a whole section of the office which can be let out more easily.

If you are able to do this, desk rental tenants could themselves help boost productivity through their presence alone. Variety is indeed the spice of life and a few fresh faces (and maybe an idea or two) around the office can provide an extra burst of energy.

Embrace the holidays

It may feel like taking time off can be a drain on productivity – but everyone needs a break. For proof, look no further than the advice of Simon Briault from the Federation of Small Businesses. “It is important for employees to take the time off they are entitled to. Everybody needs a break to relax and unwind,” he said. “In the long run, it will be beneficial for the employee and the employer alike. It also helps to reduce ill-health and absenteeism.”

The real key to being productive in the summer is to embrace the season, and try to make the absolute most of it. People will come back from leave refreshed and restored. All the while, if there’s a chance you can use the opportunity to introduce policies such as office sharing, then that could well be a further bonus for you, the office and the business.

Looking for more ways to motivate your employees? Here’s a novel solution.

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.


 

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Peter Ames is the head of strategy for Office Genie, the first desk space marketplace in the UK – under the umbrella of Genie Ventures (a digital marketing and e-commerce company). The site is responsible for letting out millions of pounds worth of space to the country's small businesses and freelancers.

Q&A

If you’ve found the article above useful, but have a more detailed and bespoke question, then please feel free to submit a query to our expert. We at Business Advice will get in contact with them on your behalf and arrange for a personalised response. These questions and answers will then be collated on the site for any other readers who have similar queries.

Ask a question

From the top