Ahhh summer. Long, lazy days of staring out the office window, daydreaming and wishing we could be outside. For many of us, the summer productivity slump isn’t just spurred by the desire to be outside in the sun. In Gibraltar, many companies slow down in summer, and lots of us spend July & August struggling to stay busy at work. Be it for having summer hours, employees taking extended holidays, clients and customers taking vacations, kids being off school, visitors coming from abroad, etc.
New projects and events are usually delayed until after the vacation season dies down, and business often starts to get back to normal just after National Day. A recent study by Captive Networks based on responses from more than 600 white-collar workers in North America has found that emloyees report productivity goes down by 20%; attendance dips by 19%, project turnaround times increase by 13% and 45% of employees are more distracted.
However, this downtime isn’t necessarily a bad thing and should be used to be productive in other areas of the business which are often neglected during the rest of the year. Below are some suggestions for ways you can remain productive during the summer:
Revisit your business goals
The summer is the perfect midway point to reassessing your business’ goals for the year. If you made goals at the beginning of the year, pull them out and analyse how well you’re sticking to them.
Fine-tune your business plan
Take a pause to look at the business environment and to think how market trends will affect your business in the foreseeable future. Look around at what your competitors are doing and consider new strategies to stay ahead of the game. Refresh your business plan accordingly.
Reorganise your priorities
If you find your office is quieter over the summer and you have less to do, consider using this time to reorganise your priorities. Use your summer to tie up loose ends, make a plan of action and get everything in order so you’re prepared for busy season.
Catch up on emails
Remember all those Unread Emails in your inbox you never had time to read and answer? Well, now may be a good time to clean your inbox and catch-up. Make sure you send any important communication during the first half of the day. Between summer hours, scheduled vacations, and waning concentration levels mid-day, you’re more likely to catch important contacts before they hit the mid-day slump.
Update all your social media profiles
If you have a LinkedIn profile, make sure it’s up to date with your latest skills, experience, contacts, endorsements, etc. If you use Twitter or Facebook to connect with your customers, take some time to review your bio and profile description. In general, you want to make sure that all your digital calling cards are accurate, up-to-date, compelling, and loaded with your important keywords.
Do some research
Rather than rely on other people’s information, use the time to commission some proprietary market surveys, opinion polls, or competitive analysis to get a deeper and more tailor-made understanding of your market.
Attend your own “Summer School”
There’s never a shortage of new things to learn and summer is the perfect opportunity to add to your arsenal of skills and expertise. Maybe you’ve been wondering about how to better manage your cashflows, how to improve your marketing abilities, or how to develop better budgeting techniques? Pick one topic to focus on. Find a training webinar on the topic or book some sessions with a local advisor to speed up the learning process.
Clear your desk
Are notes, papers and documents constantly piling up on your work desk? Now when things slow down in the office, may be a good time to do some filing and archiving of old documents and clear your desk, before the madness returns.
Consider business strategy
This may be a time of fewer distractions because of people being out. Capitalise on that by focusing on projects that require strategic thought and planning. This way you will be ready to act on your strategy when the busy period returns.
Strengthen team bonding
When was the last time your departmental team or management team all socialised? Summer may be a good time to hold a corporate day out, have lunch meetings with your colleagues or organise other team bonding activities to raise morale and improve internal working relations.
In summary, don’t think of summer as an excuse to hit the snooze button. With most people taking their eyes-off their efforts, that’s exactly the time for the savviest of entrepreneurs and employees to capitalise on the space left open by others. Now is the time to make those strategic plans that will keep you ahead of the game for the rest of the year.