Managing Productivity During the Summer

Published Thursday, June 10, 2010 8:46 AM

Memorial Day is in the rearview mirror, school vacation is almost upon us.  With the "lazy, hazy, crazy" days of summer fast approaching, how best to maintain productivity during a season marked by holidays, vacations and distracting beach weather?

For starters, don't resist the time off. While it may seem counterintuitive, productivity is actually enhanced by taking a break. Roman poet Ovid famously said, "Take a rest; a field that is rested gives a bountiful crop."

Make a Plan and Hit the Road

Don't Forego Your Vacation This Summer!


The Upside of Downtime

Ovid's dictum holds true today.  A 2009 study lead by Harvard Business School leadership professor Leslie Perlow confirms that getting away from work for set, preplanned periods of time can yield unexpected on-the-job benefits. The preparation required to successfully execute a shortened workweek produces tangible benefits which can include:

  • Better communication
  • Closer work relationships
  • Improved planning ahead
  • Streamlined work
  • Improved client service

Wall Street Journal reporter Sue Shellenbarger was inspired by the HBS study to put aside her own work for a set period each month and found her own productivity improving. Read her article If You Need to Work Better, Try Working Less for her first-hand account of increased productivity through planned respites.

Consider a Compressed Workweek

Looking for opportunities to let your field lie fallow? Explore the possibilities of working Summer Hours also commonly called a Compressed Workweek.  Compressed schedules can be set up in a variety of ways, either 40 hours worked over 4 days, or a week of five nine-hour days followed by a week of four nine-hour days, giving employees a day off every other week. Some offices elect to give employees half day Fridays. Summer Hours typically are offered only between Memorial and Labor Days.

According to a study by Hewitt Associates,  a leading HR consulting and outsourcing firm, the majority of firms who provide compressed workweeks during the summer find it successful in boosting employee retention, engagement and productivity.

While a flexible work schedule can provide plenty of upside-revitalized employees and improved workplace planning and communication- drawbacks to compressed workweeks exist and should be fully explored before embarking on any schedule changes.

Make Vacation Count

If a compressed work week isn't in the cards, recharge your batteries by making the most of your vacation days.

Alleviate pre-vacation stress by giving plenty of notice so schedules run smoothly and cross-train a colleague to sub in on your workload while you're out. Consider scheduling vacations after major projects and during slow periods so you can be confident your absence isn't burdensome.

And while you may need (or want) to check in, be sure to allow enough mental distance from work, that you can return recharged and ready.

Does your workplace have Summer Hours or policies to help manage productivity during the summer? Share your stories here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.

by Carly Fadako


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# Nelda said on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 2:46 AM

Wow! Great tihkning! JK

# cheap oem software said on Thursday, May 03, 2012 11:43 AM

9cb5mW Awesome blog article.Really thank you! Great.

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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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