Summertime is bittersweet for business owners. The sun’s out, everyone’s in a better mood, and you even get to take some time off (make sure that you do!). But on the other hand, your employees are heading off on vacation left and right, and even those who are in the office never seem fully present.
Fall will be so much better for productivity, right? It can be if you’re a good workplace leader. Here are seven tips on how to get your employees back in work mode and keep up productivity after summer vacation.
1. Have an End-of-Summer Party
Company parties are great in their own right. They bring your team together, and good workplace leaders know that company events help build trust between managers, leadership and employees.
But an end-of-summer party has another purpose. It’s a way to help employees understand that they’re moving into a new part of the year. You’re essentially sending a message that summer is over and it’s time to get ready for work again.
An end-of-summer party can be as simple as a pizza party in the office or a company picnic at a local park. Wherever you decide, pick a location and time that works with as many people as possible. There are online scheduling tools like Doodle, where people can put in their availability so that you can make the best decision.
2. Ask Your Employees How Their Summer Was
Make a point of asking every employee how their summer was. This could be at the end-of-summer party or in a one-on-one meeting (more on that below). Just be in a place where you can really listen and have a meaningful conversation. It’s another way to subtly communicate that summer was then and work is now. But it’s also another way to build a solid relationship with your team — and there’s no better way to boost motivation and productivity in work than having a strong, positive relationship between employees and company leadership.
3. Schedule a Team Meeting…
Now that everyone’s enjoyed a relaxing end-of-summer party, it’s time to talk business. Get everyone together for a team meeting to update everyone on important company news since the beginning of the summer. You should also emphasize the company’s successes to date and gently remind everyone where there’s room for improvement. The point is to get the team excited about the rest of the year and motivated to get the company on track to meet its goals.
You should aim to get everyone in the same room at the same time, but if that’s not possible, offer to do the same team meeting a couple of times to accommodate space restrictions or shift schedules. In the end, everyone should have the opportunity to attend the same meeting.
Keep your team meeting truly team-oriented. Now’s not the time to single out people unless it’s for praise (which should always be as public as possible).
4. …But Also Do One-on-One Meetings
Your team meeting is an ideal way to get everyone motivated to work together again. But, of course, you’ll also want to discuss employees’ individual progress and goals. After your team meeting, schedule one-on-one time with each employee.
The end-of-summer one-on-one might also be a good time to work on your annual performance review. Or if you already do your performance reviews during another time of year, this is a good time to discuss progress towards the year’s goals. Remember that an important part of setting goals is tracking progress towards those goals. If there are any issues preventing an employee from achieving their goals, it’s much better to learn about them sooner so that there’s time to address any problems.
You should also leave time in your one-on-one meeting for your employees to give their own feedback. What are they looking forward to the most and the least in the next few months? What support do they need from you to help them succeed?
5. Evaluate Schedules and Policies
Between the pandemic and summer vacations, chances are that a lot of employees were working half days, working from home, or leaving early some afternoons. At the same time, more and more employers are having teams transition from full-time remote working to in-office working or a hybrid of the two. The end of summer is the perfect time for you to clarify the company schedule and your expectations for remote working versus in-office work.
You should also ask your employees about any changes in their personal schedules that might affect work. For instance, employees with children who are going to school for the first time may need extra time to pick them up or drop them off. While you can’t promise to accommodate everyone’s schedule, when employees see that you’re making an effort to take their needs into account, they’re more likely to stay motivated and productive.
6. Stay Festive Through the Fall
One reason why employees dread the change from summer to fall is that fall always seems to be boring and celebration-free between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. While you can’t make new holidays happen, you can make the most of holidays like Halloween to keep up morale and productivity. Costume contest, anyone?
If you work with a multicultural team, you can also ask everyone to share any special holidays that the company can celebrate throughout the fall. For more family-oriented holidays, offer them the day off.
7. Don’t Work Against Your Team
The end of summer can be a frustrating time for business owners who are ready to get back to full productivity as soon as possible. But always keep in mind that your employees are people too — they have families and lives outside of work, and they should be able to enjoy both those things.
No team can go from zero to full speed overnight. Be patient and understanding as your team transitions from summer holidays to autumn in the office. Remember that your employees are on your side. They want to do a good job, but if you push them too hard to do something they’re not ready to do, you’ll just get frustrated, resentful, burnt-out employees — in short, an unproductive team.
High Productivity is Always about Valuing People
No matter what time of year it is, the secret to boosting productivity is always about putting your employees first. People and culture are what make Confie so great. Get in touch with us today to learn more, or give us a call at (714) 252-2500.