Glory be! For once the British weather is having a fabulous go at being summery. But the season of red arms and black sausages can be difficult for small businesses. Half of your team jet off on their summer jollies, while the other half are dreaming of sitting by the river the moment the sun comes out.
Here are six tips for keeping your team engaged and productive this summer.
It can be a challenge what with your other responsibilities, but make sure you stay right on top of staff holidays. You need to know exactly who is away, at what time and for how long. If you desperately need Dave to close a deal when he’s dancing in the Dordogne, you’ve got problems.
When you have a handle on your team’s holidays, you can plan workloads and make contingencies if necessary. Otherwise you could find yourself lumbered with way too much work to cope with. And that’s no fun.
Staff shortages are felt more keenly in small teams. If your troops are covering more ground than usual, they need to know that they can speak up if they are struggling. Sure, a little stress can be good for productivity in some circumstances. But feeling overwhelmed leads to mistakes, mediocrity and low morale. Talk to your staff. Listen to your staff. Simple.
When a decent amount of wedge is on the table, it can be hard to turn down new jobs – even when you are almost at capacity. That’s fine when you have a full team and are firing on all cylinders. But when you’re thin on the ground, overstretching is a bad idea. Be realistic and focus on keeping your customers happy first.
Get out there!
A lot of businesses slow down in the summer. How do you make the most of it? Get out there in the sunshine. Take a client for lunch. Meet your favourite supplier for breakfast. Hit the driving range with a prospect you are targeting. Think of it as feathering your connections nest, ready for the autumn when work picks up again. You could even call it networking, if networking wasn’t such an awful word. We prefer to refer to this as ‘Wooing your prospects with content marketing’.
Treat your staff
Let’s hear it for your staff, putting in the hard yards while their colleagues are bronzing themselves in Costa del Sunburn. Get something fun in the diary: a night out, a boat trip with canapés, dinner at a fancy restaurant. You name it. It will keep morale nice and high. And the beauty of arranging these teambuilding activities is when morale is high, productivity usually follows suit.
Offer flexible working hours
Some businesses are bound to certain hours. That’s just how it is. But if you have the option to offer your staff flexible hours – even just for the summer – then it’s worth considering. We’re willing to bet that some in your team would love to start earlier and then finish earlier to make the most of those long summer evenings. It’s horrible when you feel summer is slipping through your fingers while you are chained to a desk. Worth thinking about?
There’s no reason summer can’t be both happy and productive for you, your staff and your business as a whole. All it takes is a little planning. Over to you.