OOO summer

Don’t Let OOO Lead to a Dip in Productivity this Summer


As the summer season approaches, many professionals are looking forward to taking time off work to enjoy quality time with family and friends. However, balancing the demands of work and leisure can be difficult. Extended time off can result in an increased workload upon a return to work, causing work anxiety and the potential for missed deadlines. Even when some individuals don’t take extra time off during the summer, their productivity and effectiveness might be impacted by PTO taken by their colleagues.

To maintain productivity during the summertime, it’s important that executives and their teams communicate early and often about planned time away. Take stock of the time off you and your colleagues are planning to take and share these lists with one another. Or, better yet, add them to a shared calendar so that you can visualize who will be out and when. If folks are taking long or frequent stints of time off from work, consider having a meeting to discuss coverage plans and how productivity and progress will be maintained throughout the season. Ensure that your team is adequately cross trained to provide coverage in a colleague’s absence.

Summer holidays like the Fourth of July and Juneteenth offer reasons to celebrate, and professionals often elect to use PTO to lengthen their holiday breaks from work. Wise employers will expect their employees to utilize their vacation time around busy summer holidays and plan accordingly. Instead of operating at reduced capacity while some colleagues are away, it may be best to schedule office closures for days you know will be popular to take PTO.

In recognition of the popular, busy time that summer is, many employers offer “Summer Fridays” as a workplace perk. Summer Fridays allow employees to leave work early or take the entire day off on Fridays during summer months. While this practice has become more common in recent years, it can lead to an increased workload Monday through Thursday and make communication with colleagues and clients more difficult. Companies that choose to offer Summer Fridays should adopt a clear and simple approach and consider rotating which departments enjoy Summer Fridays and when.

Taking time off from work is shown to improve mental and physical health. In fact, the American Psychological Association has found that PTO can increase life satisfaction, improve mental wellbeing, reduce heart disease risks and reduce anxiety and depression. But on average, 55% of Americans do not use all their paid time off. And more than half of employees with paid leave have worked during their time off. Lack of PTO, either given by an employer or used by an employee, can have negative effects on productivity, absenteeism, and company culture. All three of which have ties to an organization’s bottom line. To ensure that your employees are their happiest and healthiest, consider implementing a minimum vacation policy. Requiring your employees to take a minimum number of PTO days throughout the year ensures that your team is reaping the health and wellness benefits of time off.  

Balancing work and leisure is essential for professionals to avoid burnout, maintain productivity, and have a healthy relationship to work and personal life. As summer gets under way, be sure that your team is prepared for an increase in PTO and plan accordingly for coverage. Consider offering more frequent office closures over the summer, so long as your team understands the expectations. 

Share your tips for balancing work and leisure in the comments below!

Photo by LRM Exterior

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