As I write this blog, it's 27°C (roughly 80°F) and sunny outside. As you can imagine, I'm thinking about all of the other things I could be doing instead: Playing golf. Taking my yacht out for a spin. Sitting on a patio. Going for a run. Heading to someone's cottage because I don't have one. My yacht.
You catch my drift.
Not to mention, it's the beginning of June - so imagine how much more daydreaming lies ahead.
There's no denying it: It's difficult for employees to stay motivated and productive during the summer months.
And while managers have a big role to play in keeping employees focused on work during the summer months, the only way to guarantee that work gets done is if employees hike up their socks and sandals, and take responsibility for their own productivity.
Here are five ways employees can stay productive during the summer months:
Mo learning, no mo problems
For years, organizations have been investing in developing people. After all, investing in employee learning increases engagement and makes employees more productive. If you haven't been able to participate in any learning activities until now, don't worry - it's a good time to invest in your personal and professional development.
The first step is to work with your manager to identify what skills you're interested in developing. This could mean further enhancing an area you already excel in or bridging the gap in another. Next, contact your HR department to find a learning program that's right for you. Or, find a great book to read.
Regardless of what you do, make sure it helps you take a step in the right direction for your career and that you'll be able to apply what you learn
And here's a way to hold yourself accountable for following through on completing your learning task: Set up a meeting with your team or department to share what you learned. Did I mention that the summer months are also a perfect opportunity to improve your PowerPoint or Prezi skills? Is Prezi still even a thing?
Take it outside
You know that high-level strategic planning meeting you have in the air conditioned meeting room on the 3rd floor? Well, take it outside.
It's a well-known fact that vitamin D - affectionately referred to as the sunshine vitamin - has numerous health benefits when enjoyed safely and in moderation. So, rather than sitting in your office and staring outside with sad, longing puppy dog eyes... you actually get to be outside, getting work done.
The great thing about technology is that it actually supports working outside. I mean, you probably have one or all of the following:
- Pen and paper (how quaint!)
- Access to Wi-Fi
All you need is somewhere to sit and, voila, outside meeting space.
Ask for more work
Hang on. Don't click away from this blog.
There's a good chance you will be in the office when your manager and/or colleague(s) will be away. With this in mind, get a head start on what additional work might be coming your way by proactively setting a meeting to discuss what might be available for the picking.
After all, your manager should be a pro at delegating work and, if your team has established goals that feed into departmental and organizational goals, tasks and projects still need to get done. This Forbes article from 2012 offers up another great suggestion:
"Are any of the other departments in an all-hands-on-deck phase? This is a great opportunity for you to learn about other parts of the organization or gain some new skills. And even if there's only need for an envelope-stuffer, your colleagues will definitely appreciate it (and hopefully return the favor next time you need some extra help)."
Learning about other parts of your company's business is a great way to
expand your institutional knowledge. And, of course, it's a great way to get to
know other people in your organization and build relationships with them.
Do you hear that? Ah, yes. It's the sound of the office slowing down (maybe not now, but eventually). That doesn't mean your creative output needs to slow down, though.
Take this opportunity to extensively research and plan what great things you and your team can be doing in the next quarter. At the same time, put all of your ideas down and book some time in your manager's calendar in advance so you can pitch your ideas. In the end, you will have saved yourself hours from trying to rush through the planning process and have more time to spend on executing something great.
Buy ice cream
Because why not? Seriously, though, we all appreciate this form of recognition. And while your manager is responsible for providing you with feedback about your performance, peer recognition brings things down to a whole other level.
Whether it's the dog days of summer or the dead of winter, your peers are your teammates, they are the people you're in the trenches with, and building strong working relationships with them is critical to your individual and collective success.
If you can't afford to foot the bill yourself, round up some colleagues to chip in. The whole "pay it forward" thing is really great and you might be surprised at what others come up with to return the favor.
Your turn: What do you do to stay motivated during the summer months?