6 tips to keep your business productive this summer
The summer can be a disruptive period for business, a recent study found that productivity decreases up to 20%, attendance decreases by 19% projects take 13% longer and workers are 45% more distracted…
Organisation and communication along with having set processes in place to manage holidays and ensure client service levels are kept high are essential to continuing business as usual. This article will cover several tips on how to keep your business productive and moving forward this summer.
Effective client management (Communication & Expectations)
It is essential to communicate with your clients. This has to be done at an individual level, if an emergency crops up for a client, they want to know that they can talk to someone who is aware of their situation and can help them immediately. It’s all too common an occurrence that we get busy before a holiday trying to get the ‘to do’ list complete and then the handover is rushed or completely forgotten.
Make sure that staff make their clients aware of who their main point of contact is prior to their leave and introduce them. If you have teams, their managers should ensure that at least one team member is present at all times to field queries and step in in an emergency.
Managing your client’s expectations is key, we all need a break, this is understandable, the problems arise generally through poor communication and misaligned expectations.
Rather than leave it to chance, a clear handover process will ensure that staff understand their responsibilities when taking annual leave. A check box list might include:
- Appointed client contact
- Client introduced to new contact
- All outstanding tasks communicated
- Key dates that fall during leave period
- Out of office set with new contact details clearly given
- Emergency contact details
This process could be formalised and managed by team leaders to ensure that sufficient steps have been taken to continue levels of client service.
Summer Hours & Flexible Working
During the holiday period childcare can be a difficult issue to navigate within a business. Many companies now offer flexible working arrangements for staff whether that be the odd day that needs to be spent at home or a more formal arrangement during the holiday periods for parents. This not only creates good morale within the business but also shows that you respect and trust employees to manage their own time and workload.
In the summer months some businesses introduce summer hours for example finishing at 4pm on a Friday if you come in early that day. We all need to take advantage of the longer evenings and small efforts such as this can create goodwill and therefore higher productivity within the business.
Take time out
Productivity is not akin to time spent at a desk. A more motivated office with higher morale will be more productive. Staff should be encouraged to take breaks, not only holidays but during the working day especially if the sun is out. Short walks & outside meetings can be a great way to reenergise and make sure that time spent at the desk is productive.
On a similar note, holidays should be encouraged. Burn out and stress will in the long term be far more detrimental to the business than regular breaks and longer holidays spread throughout the year. Good managers will recognise the signs in their teams and should talk to individuals that they feel need a break.
Take advantage of slower periods
If your clients are on holiday and you find periods of downtime, take advantage of them. You can get the items done that you’ve been putting off. It’s also a great time for professional development courses for employees or to tackle issues that have been swept to the side during busy periods. You can make sure your website is up to date, take some time to organise meetings with clients that you haven’t seen in a while face to face or catch up on how teams that you interact with are doing to see if processes could be improved.
Ensure your environment is adaptable for summer
Uncomfortable temperatures are one of the largest issues for productivity, it creates a sluggish heavy atmosphere in the office. Make sure that water is freely available and that the air conditioning is functioning well and at a comfortable temperature for all.
Coping with change positively: in business and life
Some change happens slowly and some overnight. In 2012 our office in Uckfield Highstreet was burned to the ground in an arson attack overnight, we know a little about change. This article will discuss how you can cope with change in the business environment and at a personal level.
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