Summer and the Workplace 

Today is the last day of school for my girls. Across the country, schools are, or will be, letting out for that much-needed summer break. It’s also the time of year for vacations, renewal, and some added stress and anxiety for employees. Parents are juggling a new routine of camps, sitters, and daycare. Employees without kids are trying to plan some much needed time away, whether it’s a long vacation or just some after work activities. As this summer ramps up, be mindful of all of the new activity entering into the workplace and be respectful of this time.

I work in Chicago and there is nothing more fun or more precious than the summertime. Like much of the Midwest, we have endured a long winter and realize there may be a short window to get all the fun and sun we can soak up before the cold weather comes back. For employees with school-aged kids, the summertime is the start of a new routine. Many scramble to find the right camps or daycare to fill the void of the classroom. These camps aren’t free and the times may be different from the regular school year. In the next few weeks, be aware of these changes and be a little more compassionate than usual.

Not all employees have kids, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have things going on in the summer. There are outdoor activities and festivals many like to enjoy. Outdoor events or social gatherings are to be had. Be mindful of all your employees and take an interest in what they like to do.

Many employers get creative around the summer. Summer hours are still popular. Typically, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, employers will institute some variation of flex time. Whether it’s half day Friday’s, where employees work and extra hour a day Monday through Thursday, or every other Friday off, get creative. Have Friday afternoon BBQ’s or picnics. Have fun and embrace it. Being flexible during these times will pay dividends in the long run.

When scheduling projects or major deadlines, get a good idea of when your teams will be taking vacations. I learned firsthand that August is the biggest vacation month.

Last August, I had a position I was filling on my team and I wanted to have the person hired by the end of August. I made commitments to the candidates that I would have it wrapped up before then. And I ended up looking bad. Most of the major decision makers were on vacation at various times in August and I was not able to get things scheduled.

Whether businesses like it or not, this is a major vacation time across the country. Keep that in mind.

Summers are the best. Employees seem happier, business gets better, and the PTO banks are ready to be drained. Use this time as an opportunity to encourage your employees to take advantage of the season, get some time away, and prepare for another long winter. But let’s not think about that just yet!


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