With sun, vacations, and the great outdoors, summer may be most people’s favorite time of the year—but not business owners. Unless you own a seasonal business, you’ve likely noticed that these months lead to fewer sales and lower employee engagement. Say hello to the notorious summer slump.
It’s no secret that productivity takes a nosedive during this sunny season (as much as 20%, according to office surveys). You don’t have to guess why: While attendance decreases by 19%, distractions increase by 45%. Research shows the biggest productivity dip in the U.S. comes at the end of June and beginning of July. After that, it slowly but steadily rises until September.
Why Is Business Productivity Low During Summer?
You could boil the answer down to two words: beautiful weather.
“The relaxed atmosphere of summer can contribute to lower productivity,” career expert Wendi Weiner tells Fast Company. “… Sunshine boosts the serotonin and happiness in the brains of others and decreases analytical capabilities, thus diminishing desires to work.”
If you live in the north, this insight rings especially true, doesn’t it? In the Vancouver/Portland area, where we’re located, summer only lasts about three months, with the rest of the year dominated by cloudy, cold weather. So summer is when we soak up as much sun as we can!
How to Get Productive During Your Summer Slump
You don’t have to let summer’s low productivity levels dictate your business growth. Here’s how you can take advantage of the slow season:
Plan for your vacation time.
Vacations are great, but they can detract from your productivity if you’re not careful. Leading up to vacation, it’s easy to spend more time daydreaming about your trip than you do working or strategizing.
Be proactive about planning for your vacation and communicate clearly. Who will be in charge of what tasks while you’re gone? Do all your employees know at least a month in advance when you’ll be off? Do they clearly understand the expectations you have for them while you’re away?
Be strategic about time-off policies.
We don’t mean keeping employees from taking time off during the summer. In fact, we think you should encourage your employees to take vacations! First of all, because it’s the right thing to do. And second of all, burned-out employees can’t help you grow your business.
But if you have a small team, make sure vacations are planned in a way that doesn’t leave one person to man the entire ship. Be flexible and communicate clearly to ensure that everyone’s vacations are on the schedule and that enough people are in the office to keep things running smoothly.
Go light on the meetings.
As employees take their vacations, their teammates will need more time to cover for them. An international survey showed that covering for a teammate takes the average employee an additional 1-2 hours each day. They don’t have time for a lot of meetings, so be kind and cut out the unnecessary ones.
Take advantage of the slowdown to do administrative tasks.
You know which ones we’re talking about—bookkeeping, office clean-up, follow-ups on overdue invoices. And don’t forget the dreaded inventory count you’ve been putting off for the last two months.
Hire someone to do those administrative tasks for you.
Instead of spending all your time on your business this summer, choose to enjoy it. Outsource to the professionals any frustrating admin tasks, such as accounting, invoicing, reports, and financial analysis.
Click here to learn how we can take care of your accounting so you can go enjoy your summer!