There’s something about that first big heat wave of summer that destroys attention spans, crushes attention to detail and siphons away energy. Even your sharpest and most capable employees are prone to bouts of daydreaming, extra-long lunches and a slowed output. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, thousands of businesses like yours face the dreaded employee productivity slump.
Summer is nearly always a slow season. You, your team members and your customers are either breezing away on weeks-long vacations (or wish they were), and those who are in office are struggling to cover their teammates’ absences and keep up with demand.
1. Beware the Thermostat
During the summer, buildings often crank up the A/C in an effort to combat sweltering outdoor temperatures. But this could be doing more harm than good. According to a study by Cornell University, temperature plays a big role in employee productivity. At 68 degrees Fahrenheit, workers had a 25 percent error rate in typing, compared with just 10 percent at 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
While you don’t need to turn your office into a sauna, going easy on the air conditioning can improve output and reduce the margin of error. Maintaining an indoor summer temperature of around 72 degrees can also help improve office energy efficiency.
2. Implement Summer Fridays
When productivity is down and work is backlogged, offering employees an additional day off can seem counterintuitive. But your people really need a break. According to Gallup, nearly 40 percent of full-time employees in the United States work at least 50 hours a week. And among the many other health risks caused by overworking, longer hours often lead to burnout and poor employee productivity.
So give your employees Fridays off or, at the least, shut down the office after lunch and offer your team a head start on their weekend.
3. Get Moving
Whether it’s high temperatures, vacation jet lag or too much ice cream, there’s no denying summer makes people sluggish. And sitting in the same spot all day only exacerbates this condition.
Ask your team members to move spots, ask your facilities manager to switch up the seating arrangement or simply offer standing desk options. A small change of scenery can do wonders for igniting productivity and helping employees feel rejuvenated.
Also, consider offering a few activities to mix up the day. For example, host a short afternoon yoga session to combat the post-lunch energy crash. Anything that gets people up and moving—even briefly—is sure to stimulate their minds and get the creative juices flowing.
With so many distractions facing employees this time of year, it’s no surprise your teams are a little less efficient. But by taking the above advice, you can overcome the summertime productivity slump and get your team members back to firing on all burners.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.