Avoid adapting to the changing seasons and you may find it has a notable impact on your office’s productivity levels. Summer marks the time of year when businesses experience a significant slump in output, which is largely due to climbing temperatures affecting those confined to office spaces.
Studies illustrate this perennial business issue, showing that when summer arrives, productivity plummets by 20% and distractions soar by 45%. Uncontrolled temperatures create an uncomfortable working environment, which in turn effects efficiency and morale.
Transforming the way your business operates and ensuring your office is designed with comfort in mind can help you avert a seasonal lull. Here are five useful tips to help you adapt to the summer season, and keep the office running smoothly in the heat:
1. Create a cool office
Stifling hot spaces can be unbearable – not only do they directly impact productivity levels, they can also become a safety issue if not addressed. A recent survey found that 50% of offices are considered to be too hot. Although there’s no law currently in place that sets a maximum temperature limit for businesses in the UK, providing a safe place to work is a requirement. There is a noted rise in employees absent through sickness in summer months, which can be attributed in some part to temperature changes, and heat related illnesses.
If your office isn’t equipped with air conditioning and you’re looking for ways to stay cool in the heat, introducing fans around different work spaces could make a big difference to both productivity and employee comfort.
Temporarily relaxing your office dress code may also help employees cool down. Working in the heat while wearing tailored clothing can be uncomfortable, so giving your employees the option to wear loose-fitting items in breathable materials can help them feel cooler and therefore aid productivity.
2. Provide plenty of water
Drinking the recommended daily intake of water is something that should be encouraged all year round. But it’s even more pertinent during summer months when temperatures soar.
Dehydration symptoms range from dizziness to headaches and can lead to a rise in staff illness, which causes a direct drop in productivity and resource. Make sure there are numerous water coolers available throughout your office, so staying hydrated is easy for your employees.
3. Perks and rewards
Don’t employ an all work and no play tactic - it’s almost guaranteed to hamper productivity, rather than increase it. Take the time to organise a staff event or day out at both the beginning and end of summer.
There’s no shortage of ways you can engage employees and tighten their bonds. Try starting the season with a fun day or retreat, then when autumn is on the horizon, throw an end of summer party. Having something for people to look forward to can help tackle post-holiday blues and simultaneously boost productivity.
4. Champion breaks
Encourage people to take breaks throughout the day. These can prevent them from becoming over-worked and provide them with an opportunity to recharge. There’s the added benefit that a refreshed workforce can bolster motivation and creativity.
5. Be more flexible
There’s a lot of frustration that comes from sitting inside an air-conditioned office when a rare British heatwave hits. It may be worth checking with HR to see what can be done to allow more flexible working. Letting your employees leave earlier than usual can lift team morale and in turn, actually help increase satisfaction with the work-life balance.
Flexible working during the summer isn’t just designed to increase motivation, it can also help your employees stay safe while commuting. Choosing to travel to work earlier or later rather than during rush hour can help to avoid the dangerous temperatures that public transport options are prone to during summer.
Help boost the summer slowdown by employing a seasonal strategy. Being prepared for the heat and rolling out a more flexible approach to work may lead to your office having its most dynamic summer yet.
For more insights on keeping your employees happy and productive, visit our Vantage point Magazine page to download the magazine.