Summer Is Over but Has Your Team Gotten Back to Business?
Taking time to vacation, replenish and enjoy friends and family during the summer is essential to a healthy workplace. Allowing employees to leave their laptops for the mountains, the lake or the beach can help fight burnout and keep employees engaged. A study from Captivate Network found that 45 percent of workers felt more distracted during the summer. However, allowing summer hours and more flexibility can help ease this distraction. Another study by Opinion Research Corporation discovered that 66 percent of employees who have summer hours are more productive as a result.
Though a more flexible vibe in summer can definitely increase well-being, making the transition from summer to autumn at work can be difficult for many. How do you make a successful shift in mindset and refocus for the remainder of the year? Just like we treat the new year as a time to renew goals, evaluate progress and change direction, the end of the summer can be also an opportune moment for this reassessment.
Mid-year new year.
Think of the end of summer as half-time. You had a detailed plan going into the first half of the game, and either it’s still working well halfway in or something has shifted, and you need to make adjustments. When your team reconvenes at the end of the summer, take this time to reassess and gauge your trajectory. Are you on track to reach your goals? Looking at your annual plan, evaluate where you are in the process and what you may need to adjust to hit your year-end targets.
Once all the summer wiggles are shaken out, you’re renewed and refreshed and your team is ready to dive into the game plan once more, estimate together how much you’ve done and where you still have to go. This is a great time for the entire team to come together, give project status updates and make recommendations on how best to move forward.
Changing the course.
Mid-year adjustments are standard business for most teams. Priorities change, new projects and programs arise and company goals shift. You’re not a clairvoyant; you can’t predict everything your team will encounter throughout the year.
If you’re a little left of center from your plan, don’t panic. The key here is to remain fluid, flexible and positive. Utilize this naturally occurring circumstance to pivot, realign and rally around each other. In my experience, those teams who take time to regroup and adjust are the most successful in delivering consistent results over time.
On the other hand, leaders or teams who don’t anticipate change and take the time mid-year to reevaluate, often fail to quickly focus and ramp up the post-summer effort. Frustrations build that could have been easily avoided by taking a moment as a team to assess, evaluate and adjust.
In my 30-plus years in the workforce, I’ve had to adjust the game plan midway through the year more times than I can count. Sometimes this has to do with reallocating budget and finding creative ways to reduce spend. If priorities have shifted, this is a crucial time to decide where you’re going to allot the remaining funds. You may have to make hard decisions like postponing one project to make room for a new, higher priority. While these types of decisions can be stressful, anticipating mid-year changes and involving team members in the decision process will minimize stress and create an opportunity to energize the team moving forward.
Take this time coming back from summer to celebrate as a team. Reflect together on the milestones reached during the first half of the year and energize each other for the work yet to come. Whenever I use this time to celebrate as a team, I always find my employees are more eager to take on challenges and find solutions to difficult issues that have arisen since we created the original annual plan.
Coming back from summer vacations and activities is the perfect opportunity to reconnect, refocus and realign. As you keep a positive attitude and focus on innovative ways to change based on new priorities, your team will grow stronger and be able to deliver the right results.