How to Get Out of the Summer Productivity Slump

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. Many companies slow down in summer, and lots of us spend a few months between May and September struggling to stay busy at work.

A 2012 Captivate Network study of 600 white collar workers in North America found that productivity drops, on average, by 20% during summer months.

If you find yourself struggling to stay productive in the summer months, we have a few tips to help you stay on track this summer…

What happens in the office stays in the office

If you’re going to take a holiday, make sure you do it right.

Your holiday should give you the chance to relax so you feel refreshed and ready to go when you get back. If you’re spending your whole holiday checking your emails and worrying about what’s going on in the office, you’re unlikely to feel refreshed when you get back.

Leadership writer and coach Tanveer Naseer believes holiday are crucial for company productivity…

“Being away from your work environment for a longer period of time will help you gain a fresh perspective about your work, as well as providing you with the opportunity to pursue your other interests…. It’s also important to remember that people in your team are depending on you to do your job well….As such, skipping over your vacation will not only have an impact on your productivity, it can also create frustrations within the team, which can have a deleterious effect on the organization’s morale.”

Work summer hours

CEO of Growbiz Rieva Lesonsky recommends offering your employees a little extra time off to help them through the summer productivity slump…

“Lots of companies offer summer hours where employees get every Friday afternoon off or every other Friday off. Knowing they have Friday off can make employees less likely to call in “sick” on sunny Mondays.”

If summer hours aren’t for you, why not offer flexible working options over the summer so each employee gets to work from home for a few days. Or offer a few extra holiday days that can only be taken over the summer months.

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, says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant

“This may be a time of fewer distractions because of people being out. Capitalize on that by focusing on projects that require strategic thought and planning so you’ll be ready to precede with your fall proposals at a time when the pressure cooker environment returns. You’ll be glad you took advantage of any lulls.”

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. You could even try out a few new productivity methods to really learn how to make the most of your time.

Mix up your routine

If you’re really struggling to focus this summer, try mixing up your routine. Whether you decide to move your desk, take a different route on your lunchtime walk, or go somewhere new for lunch, disturbing your normal routine could be just what you need to get out of the slump.

Samuel R. Sommers, associate professor of psychology at Tufts University, believes these small changes in routine can give us a huge productivity boost…

“The smallest of changes in context make a big difference in motivation levels. In fact, research tells us that changing our environment can lead to a burst of fresh thinking and increased drive. Sure, jobs vary in terms of how flexible they are, but figure out a way to switch things up: Take a meeting or two outside. Work from a coffee shop for the afternoon. Turn what’s usually a solo responsibility into a group effort, or vice versa.”

How do you stay productive throughout the summer months? Share your tips in the comments below.

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