How to Survive the Summer Slump: Tips for Staying Productive

It’s now officially August, which means Seafair takes place this weekend on Lake Washington and summer has finally hit its stride. Of course, summer means something a little different for each of us.

Hopefully it means you’re enjoying time off, but it could mean that you’re having to work extra hours to backfill co-workers who are on vacation. For working parents, it might mean shuffling the kids from camp to the next to fill their days until school starts again next month. Or it may be that you find yourself staring outside your window at the sun counting down the hours until the weekend.

No matter your situation, chances are you’ll inevitably find yourself in a summer slump at work before Labor Day rolls around marking the unofficial end of summer with a three-day weekend.

Grasshopper, the virtual phone system startup acquired by Citrix back in 2015, created an infographic highlighting that 25 percent of workers felt a drop in productivity in the summer. Among other findings, their study found that 60 percent of workers preferred eating outdoors, 63 percent left the office early and 68 percent admitted to spending time daydreaming. And who among us wouldn’t like to spend a little more time outdoors on a perfect, sunny Seattle summer day?

If you count yourself among that 25 percent that feel less productive in the summer, here are a few suggestions for staying productive and beating the summer slump.

Brainstorm Meetings

I find this one especially effective for the self-professed daydreamers out there (you know who you are). It’s easy to find yourself thinking about that upcoming weekend trip to the lake / beach / campsite, but I’ve found one of the best ways to refocus when thoughts start drifting elsewhere is to get a few co-workers and organize an impromptu brainstorm meeting.

Does your company have a big product launch scheduled for the fall? Or maybe you’ve had a project on the backburner that could use some attention. This can be a terrific opportunity to channel that distraction and put some collective creative brainpower to good use. The relaxed setting of a brainstorm session is the perfect fit for sunny summer days.

Take a Walk

We’re fortunate here in the Pacific Northwest to live in a place where it’s actually enjoyable to be outside during summer days. If you find yourself hitting that proverbial late morning or mid-afternoon wall, then step outside and take a quick walk to reenergize. Getting away from the office may seem counterproductive but there’s research pointing to the fact that 52 minutes of work followed by 17 minutes of rest is the ideal formula to maximize productivity.

Or Meet Outside

Can’t bring yourself to slip away for 15 minutes without accomplishing something? Then try scheduling a meeting outside of the office with your supervisor, direct report or small team. We’re fortunate to have a wide range of open spaces and outdoor seating areas in our area to take advantage of sunny summer days.

Why sit through yet another meeting in a windowless conference room? You might not be able (or want) to do so in February, so take advantage of the opportunity to get some Vitamin D while meeting outside this summer. Based on experience, I think you’ll find that you come back into the office recharged and ready to tackle your remaining work assignments.

Summer Fridays

This is one that seems to be catching on at more and more companies in recent years. There are different variations to the trend, such as offering employees a chance to work a “9/80” or “4/10” schedule, meaning that you work either 9- or 10-hour days Monday through Thursday and then have off every (or every other) Friday. It’s a fantastic way to let employees enjoy a longer weekend – without losing productivity – and you may even find that it cuts down on those inevitable sick days that tend to happen on Mondays or Fridays during the summer.

Not ready to make the jump to having employees out of the office for the entire day? You may want to try easing into this option with a slightly different approach – closing the office a few hours early on Fridays. Choose the approach that’s most appropriate for your company and team, but I’ve seen this perk range from closing at Noon on Fridays to letting employees leave the office a few hours early each week.

These are just a few tips that can hopefully help you, your company and your employees stay productive and stop the summer slump. Are there others that you’ve tried? Leave a comment and share with us!

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