The summer slump myth in HR

Summer HR

Well, Summer has begun and there’s no denying its a time of year that is full of distractions. Since the weather is nice out pretty much nationwide, employers over the years have noticed a trend that tends to always surface during this season. A slump in overall employee performance can be seen throughout the US. In fact, an actual study was done in 2012 by Harvard Business School, and their findings showed that sunny summer days were directly linked to a decrease in worker efficiency and overall productivity.

People like to call in “sick” a lot during the summer so they can hit the beach or a local state park. There’s nothing wrong if you want to stop and smell the roses as they say, but on company time? This is a grey area. If you have the Paid Time Off (PTO) then you can use it, but sick days and PTO do differ as most organizations understand everyone is human and we get sick from time to time and need to call out occasionally.

HR managers will notice that during the summer season employee’s tend to be distracted. People simply want to be outside more, especially if you live in a temperate climate and the summer season is really the only warm sunny season all year. Perhaps its apart of our human DNA where it’s almost instinctual to gather outside when it’s sunny. The sun has many benefits for us like providing vitamin D being absorbed through the skin, but also a psychological one. Psychologists have claimed that simply seeing the sun is good for mental health and helps increase optimism and positivity.

You would think for these reasons the summer season would yield the best results in the workplace since people are generally happier. But oddly enough, its the exact opposite.

HR managers need to evaluate each employee carefully during the summer season to determine their current mental state. It’s not uncommon for an HR Director to recommend taking some time off. Encouraging vacation is the first strategy that HR Managers can use if they are starting to see signs of a summer slump. It’s a proven statistic that most US employees don’t use all of their vacation time, for whatever reason. A statistic in 2017 was that the US workforce wasted collectively around 574 million days of PTO.

People today go to work ill, especially managers. 43% are stressed regularly at work, and 46% would take a lower wage job for more flexible hours.

Aside from HR leaders recommending to their workers to take time off in the summer, there’s another big strategy that can alleviate symptoms of the summer slump. HR managers can recommend workers to take part in company-wide¬†events that are outside of the office. Whether it’s helping a charity or foundation, picnic’s, themed parties, and of course team building events.

Getting away from the day to day regular routine is key to getting the team back on track and resetting everyone’s mental state. People don’t want to feel trapped or locked into something, its human nature to want a little variance from time to time.

Team building exercises can be fun and are a great way to build a sense of belonging and community. The more tightly knit a workforce is, the better it will become in the long run.

 

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