You’ve heard of the summertime blues. Frankly, we think they’re misnamed. It’s the end-of-summertime blues that afflict businesses – and no surprise. After a relaxing summer that probably also involved a vacation, who doesn’t find it challenging to get back on the work track?
As a business owner/manager, you’re no different. In fact, in a way it’s harder for you. You have to be the one who sets the positive example; who resumes the regular, productive routine with a glad-to-be-back attitude.
Never fear. There is indeed a cure for the end-of-summertime blues. Five cures, actually, that we’re pleased to recommend:
1. Hold a start-of-autumn meeting. This is a way to bring everyone together right away and motivate them! A post-holiday reunion is a natural team-building opportunity and a great chance to set goals for the coming months. But make the meeting lively and fun: Remember, you’re trying to wake people out of their summertime relaxation, not lull them to sleep with a lecture. So, encourage everyone to come up with invigorating goals for what they personally, and the company as a whole, can make happen. New approaches, new targets – the key is in the word new. Top the meeting off with a celebratory lunch.
2. Invite your employees to prioritize those goals. Letting people prioritize and plan how to achieve their work goals motivates them. Not only does it get them thinking ahead; it enthuses them to take action. People need to feel needed! They’ll like that you’re asking for their expertise and wisdom in planning both for their own work and the company’s overall productivity.
3. Listen, listen, listen. Research keeps showing that good leadership means good listening. Once your people have set their goals, meet individually with them. Hear them out. Together, you can discuss what they’ve come up with; then modify, improve and add to their ideas as necessary. Find out what their short- and long-term aspirations are. And don’t be afraid to share some of your own hopes and ideas. You’re in this together!
4. Offer wellness programs. If you don’t have a wellness program in place, consider setting one up. Maybe it’s subsidized membership at a fitness centre. Maybe it’s once-a-week tai chi or other exercise program that you bring an instructor in for. And/or why not round everyone up for a brisk walk once or twice a week around a nearby park, winding up in a café for a quick social occasion? You’ll be surprised how many good ideas get hatched once you include wellness in the work schedule. As the body works out, the mind does, too!
5. Keep the spirit of friendly accessibility going all year. Okay, so now you’ve held your start-of-season team-building meeting; you’ve listened and discussed goals and ideas with people both at the meeting and one-on-one. You’ve all power-walked around the park a few times. All good, but don’t let the accessible atmosphere fade with the passing of weeks. Show you’re always open, always there for your people. Keep meeting, keep chatting, keep sharing ideas. Nothing shuts down an employee’s motivation like the sight of a shut door.
Here’s a Business Insider article we liked with more ideas on getting back to work and back on track.