Summer beckons in the US.
As my friends across the world prepare for winter we change our wardrobes for the heat.
The last school days finish up, traffic thins and the pace of our days change. Everyone moves just a bit slower as the nights seldom cool off now to less than 75F and the days begin their inexorable climb to the steady 100's.
Summer in the workforce brings its own set of pluses and minuses as each season does. But there is something special about summer that seems to make everything bigger, good and bad.
People Get Hot
- Summer seems to amplify minor disputes into more pressing items. Matters that most would resolve for themselves at other times tend to become that most dreaded of words, “issues”, in the summer. The HR person will adjudicate disputes that seem silly but people's needs are not silly. Have forbearance and drink lemonade.
- Staffs are stretched due to vacations (holiday for my Euro friends!) and some new truths emerge. You may find work gets done just fine, ie., you may have too much staff, or in fact things begin to fail due to stress. Either way the season reveals strength and weakness in your staffing model. Pay attention.
- Along with the summer sun comes relaxed attitudes which can impact policies including dress and timeliness. Each culture is different – yours may not put much emphasis on policy or perhaps a lot. Just know as the days get longer people's attention does in fact wander so if policy adherence is important help people out. A softer proactive approach is much preferred to a punitive reaction.
People Get Happy
- Summer brings its own positives too as people are just happier. If you have school age children its a blessing to no longer trundle them off in the am. Since many professionals go to school themselves summer can be a brief respite from the churn of work-study-sleep-eat that comprises much of the year. And reduced traffic on the road means our commutes are just a little bit easier. See? Happier.
- Vacation [in the US] is primarily taken in the summer months. Smart companies compel people to take vacation (indeed, key people in many firms are required to take a break to comply with internal auditing practice) so they can recharge and renew. Really smart companies prohibit working remotely while on vacation. Is your firm really smart?
- Finally the wamer weather tends to increase our physical activity while simulaneosuly changing out diet for the better. Fresh fruit replaces dougnuts and heavy winter meals give way to fresh foods. If you want to launch or renew your Wellness program do it now, for come winter I want comfort food and will shy away from running in the morning chill.
Summer is my favorite time of the year and living so far south it seems to last forever which is fine with me. Reminds me of the classic surf movie Endless Summer.
Enjoy this time of year knowing teach season brings gifts and challenges. On the whole summer is a lot of fun for most and there is no reason that fun can't be brought into the workplace.
Pass the lemonade and don't forget your sunscreen.