Do we work differently during the summer?

Managing people

13 June 2016

Running a business is a year-round commitment, but from June to August things tend to slow down a bit. It’s generally recognised that when the mercury rises, business productivity can take a bit of a dip.

This trend is apparent throughout the private sector. It’s even estimated that it costs British businesses as much as £8 billion pounds a year. It’s a big problem across the pond, too, where 25% of business people acknowledge that they don’t get as much done during the summer period.

But why do we work differently during the summer and, more importantly, how can small business owners and sole traders increase productivity at work in summer?

Post-holiday blues

What it is: Studies show that people are more likely to consider a career change after returning from summer holidays, and small business owners and sole traders aren’t immune to this feeling. It can be easy to forget the best parts of owning a business after two weeks of relaxing on a beach in the Algarve.

How to stop it: Don’t let the blues get the best of you. Remember the reasons you started your business and remind yourself of how successful you are. After all, it’s going well enough for you to go on that holiday in the first place! Motivate yourself by booking your next trip – you’ll have to work hard to enjoy it (and pay for it) by the time next summer rolls around.

Distractions and daydreams

What it is: Barbecues in the park, open air music festivals, holidays abroad – there’s always something fun going on during summer. It’s no wonder people find it difficult to focus at this time of year.

How to stop it: Stay focused at work. The less you daydream during work hours, the more time you’ll have to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Summer Fridays

What it is: It’s easy to slip into weekend mode before lunchtime on Friday. Instead of working to full capacity, you can get distracted dreaming about the weekend.

How to stop it: Embrace it. You’re not going to be productive when the beer garden is calling. Work harder from Monday to Thursday to account for it, and maybe you can reward yourself with a half-day on Fridays.

Longer lunch breaks

What it is: While two thirds of British workers tend to skip their lunch breaks during the colder months, summer weather encourages them to take the full hour.

How to stop it: Don’t. Although it sounds like long lunches might be bad for productivity, taking breaks is actually much better for you than skipping them altogether. An hour away from the job can help you clear your head.

Leaving early

What it is: Whether they’re picking up the kids or just heading out to catch a bit of sun, 52% of British workers admit to working fewer hours from June to August, skipping nearly two hours of work per week.

How to stop it: Give yourself more flexible working hours during the summer. Start earlier to maximise your time in the sunshine and don’t be afraid to clock off early if you finish everything on your to-do list.

So what’s your view? Have you ever been guilty of slacking off to enjoy the sunshine? And are you worried about it harming your business productivity in the long run, or are you satisfied that you make up for it the rest of the year? Have your say in the comments below.