When the sun's shining bright and temperatures hit the mid-80s, I can't help but begin daydreaming about a paddle boarding adventure in our nearby reservoir, or escaping the city for a camping trip in the Rockies. It can be hard to stay focused on impending deadlines when nature seems to be calling.
I'm not the only one who finds it difficult to stay focused. "Summertime itself has a negative impact on the workplace," notes Business News Daily. "People report productivity goes down (20 percent), attendance dips (19 percent), project turnaround time increases (13 percent) and [employees] are more distracted (45 percent)."
So what's a retailer to do when employees are distracted by upcoming beach vacations, dealing with out-of-school kids and often-steamy outdoor conditions?
Even if your employees are longing for some fun in the sun, it’s possible to not lose momentum, says Chip Averwater, a third-generation retailer and author of the just-released book Retail Truths: The Unconventional Wisdom of Retailing (ABB Press, 2012).
Below Chip offers three ways to keep motivations high during the summer months
Be sympathetic to the summertime blues.
Have some of your employees started coming in for work late? Reprimanding undesirable behavior can result in worse attitude and even rebellion.
Instead, reinforce what employees are doing right and consider breeches of protocol as uncharacteristic. “Our people like us when we have high opinions of them, and they’re proud when they live up to our expectations,” Averwater says. “So don’t rant and nag if you think the summer blues are having a negative impact. A better opening strategy might be to say, ‘I know it’s tempting to slow down right now, so I want to thank you in advance for coming in every day and giving your all.'"
Strive to make your store as sunny inside as it is outside.
Remember that the attitude and tone of your store emanates from the top. “Greet your employees each morning or as they show up for their shifts with a smile and some encouraging words,” Averwater suggests. “Acknowledge the challenge of being at work during such a nice time of the year. You might say, ‘I’m sure our customers will be out to have some fun on such a gorgeous day, so let’s have some fun in here too’ Your positivity will be contagious, and your employees will pass it on to your customers.”
Don't let yourself fall into a summer slump.
Make sure what you say matches what you do. Employees will view your actions as your real values. If what you say doesn't match up, you will lose their credibility and potentially their obedience.
"Don't come in late, take longer lunches, and slip out early on Fridays," Averwater says. “Instead, rededicate to your work and provide a good example to follow. This approach not only endorses your position, it boosts credibility."