When the weather warms up and holidays are edging closer, it can be all too tempting to relax and let your professional guard down. If this is something you identify with, then you aren’t alone.
Workplace data suggests that productivity drops 20% during the summer months, with 45% of employees admitting that they’re more distracted. This could be down to excitement over upcoming holiday plans, the shift in team stability due to holiday absences or hot weather causing a lull in concentration.
Here are some basic summer dos and don’ts for the workplace, so you can keep focussed and on-track, while still making time to enjoy the nice weather.
DO: enjoy the weather
It’s no fun being indoors when the weather is nice. Make the most of the season by taking time to enjoy the sunshine, so you can stay focussed while you’re at work. Lunchtime strolls, picnics or walking to and from the office are all easy ways to do this.
DON’T: relax your wardrobe too much
Hot weather can leave you feeling stifled and uncomfortable, both in the office and on your commute. Where possible, avoid the temptation to bare all or resort to inappropriate office attire. Flip flops, strapless dresses, sheer blouses or anything you’d normally wear to the beach are fashion don’ts for summer. If you really can’t get out of the heavy suits and thick fabrics, keep cool with desk fans and by drinking plenty of water.
DO: stop to assess your career progress
Summer brings you neatly into the middle half of the year and that makes it a great time to stop and reassess your continual learning plan. Book some time with your manager to look at the targets you’ve achieved and what you’d like to get out of the final 6 months. It’ll help you stay on track and will show you just how far you’ve come already.
DON’T: skip your holiday
We all need a good work–life balance to stay happy but getting into the habit of skipping holidays is something many of us are guilty of. Research shows that the average employee only takes 77% of their allotted annual leave, with only 12% of 16-24 year olds using the full amount. Even when we do take time off, 44% of us admit to working while away.
Using the summer season to take time off is essential for recharging your batteries and can also be great for your career, too. Taking proper breaks leads to higher rates of productivity. If you’re worried about missing an opportunity or causing a work backlog, try checking with your manager regarding upcoming busy period and projects so you can plan your holiday more effectively.
DO: use the season as another way to connect with your team-mates
You don’t need the HR department or a large budget to arrange fun office activities for summer with your teammates. Try starting an ‘ice cream happy hour’ or inviting your team out to lunch in the park rather than sitting in the canteen.
Arranging a casual after-work sporting match or friendly game is a great way of keeping active and gives you the chance to bond with other employees that you wouldn’t normally get a chance to talk to.
It is possible to achieve a healthy work–life balance during the summer months, without the weather putting your professionalism or workplace happiness at risk. Try a few of these suggestions and strike the perfect balance this year.
About the author: Phil Sheridan is the managing director for Robert Half International’s UK operations where he is responsible for leading the organisation’s strategy and direction across more than 20 office locations.