Magazine article Business Credit

My Department's Productivity Always Sinks in the Summer

Magazine article Business Credit

My Department's Productivity Always Sinks in the Summer

Article excerpt

Dear Andy,

My department's productivity always sinks in the summer. Part of this is because staff members take more time off, but there's also a noticeable drop in motivation levels at this time of year. Unfortunately, we have a busy few months ahead, as both credit and collections activity is on the rise in my department. Any suggestions for keeping my staff productive?

Many managers struggle with this problem during the dog days of summer. The work-related malaise that often sets in at this time of year is understandable. Employees may find it difficult to return to a cubicle after leaving the office for lunch on a perfect summer day or to focus on keeping their production up when it seems that everyone around them is on vacation or about to be. By being creative with your motivational tactics, however, you can make the summer months fun and highly productive for your staff. Here are some ideas:

Establish a fun award program. Consider offering a weekly award to recognize a top performer. Some of the most effective forms of recognition play up the entertainment value--for instance, you might offer a "collections king or queen" award, complete with a coronation ceremony and crown. Although these awards are mostly symbolic and usually designed to encourage office levity, some managers incorporate other perks. For example, one supervisor also allowed the week's honoree to leave early on Friday. The manager found, incidentally, that rewarding top performers with recognition and extra time off was even more effective than a cash award program his department had previously used.

Get out of the office. Why not give in to the lure of a summer day? Take your team out to the city plaza to have a box lunch and listen to a band play or engage in an unusual team-building activity. Sure, this means taking time away from work, but the morale boost and esprit de corps that result can ultimately enhance productivity. …

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