Keeping Employees & Yourself Motivated During Summer Months

It can be difficult to "adult" in the summertime, which means productivity could slip at companies whether it's a slow period for them or not.

Udemy Instructor Lawrence Miller, who has been consulting, writing and speaking about business organization and culture since the 1970s, provides tips for your workplace during these months:

Balancing Motivation and Time-off

As the owner of a consulting firm with highly motivated consultants, one of our most serious problems was convincing our consultants to take vacation. Designing the systems and culture of an organization requires a balance between optimizing motivation and relieving stress. I always thought of it like the string on one of my many guitars - too tight, out of tune; too loose, out of tune. Tuned just right, it sounds great. Similarly, it's not hard to create so much incentive for individuals that they fail to take the vacation time they have accrued. Several times we literally had to call consultants in for a counseling session to convince them to take time off.

This is an issue that varies by country and continent. In Europe there are mandated summer vacations during which almost the entire country shuts down. In the U.S. most companies don't view summer as any different than any other time of year. For those with young children the stress may come from the need to meet the needs of children and spouses. They have expectations for vacations that may not be shared by a working spouse.

Family First

I think the challenge for any employer is to proactively help the employee to meet the needs of their family members. It is not good for either employer or employee to create tensions within the employee's family. I always encouraged my consultants to put their families first. This only gained us the respect and loyalty of our employees.

Importance of Well-Rounded Teams

This is another reasons why teams are important. A well-functioning team is multi-skilled, enabling team members to stand in for each other when they take vacation. It also enables them to do self-scheduling of both work and vacation. The degree to which employee team take ownership for performance is the degree to which they will relieve each other, both from work and stress.
Lawrence Miller bio
Lawrence Miller teaches on Udemy, and has been consulting, writing and speaking about business organization and culture since the 1970s. He's worked with clients such as Xerox, McDonald's, and Air Canada. In early July, Lawrence is launching a new Udemy course on the foundations of leadership.