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Beating the Back to School Slump

The moment warm weather hits, productivity dips. There are many reasons – some personal, some biological, some environmental, but the numbers don't lie: 26% of employers say their employees are less productive in the summer. After combatting distractions and lack of productivity all summer, we're all ready to hit the ground running come September, right?

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Wrong.

How many of us find ourselves in the following scenario: it's 9:15am in a college town, and half of the team is still en route to your 9am meeting. The workplace Back to School Slump is a thing, whether you live in a college town, have children in school, or are in any way familiar with the impending sense of doom that September brings. It's a challenging time in the workplace and it can be tough to muddle through.

Why does the Back to School Slump happen?

1) Employee burnout. Between 2000 and 2014, productivity has skyrocketed, growing 21.6%, with wages only increasing 1.8% (source). In the summertime, staff is even leaner, making an already too-large workload even more impossible. When the summer ends, everyone is back from vacation and the biggest thing on the to-do lists is to catch up from all the missed and postponed work. Whoever covered for you is exhausted, whoever is coming back to a bunch of work is exhausted. It's lose-lose.

2) Traffic. The school season brings with it a plethora of commuters who have been away from the rush hour road all summer: school buses and parents. If you happen to be in Boston on move-in day, don't even bother driving anywhere.

3) Office temperatures. 71% of employees say they are less productive in an office that is too warm. 53% say they are less productive in an office that is too cold. Fall weather is confusing, and that thermostat can't keep up! Wear layers and keep a sweater at your desk – you might have figured out the summer office climate, but fall will keep you guessing.

4) Nostalgia. Remember when September meant new binders and a fresh set of notebooks? That was nice. Try to channel your inner child and buy yourself something new. It'll spike your excitement and feel like something new has begun instead of the same old, same old.

5) Kids. If you have 'em, you know. Getting yourself out the door is not even half as challenging as getting tiny humans on their way for the day. Summer may have allowed some relaxed mornings, but now there are things to remember, papers to sign, and drop-offs to make. And don't forget the snacks! ...No, for you. You need snacks too.

What can you do?

1) Employers: make it fun. Vacations are generally over, and there is no company-wide holiday for a couple months still, so morale has never been more important. Keep your employees engaged and excited about work by organizing morale-boosting activities, lunches, or getting a treat for your team.

2) Take an extended lunch with coworkers. Spending time with others who understand your pain (being stuck inside an office all day) will drag you out of the funk and boost your happiness. Your productivity is sure to follow. And try to get outside – breathing in some fresh fall air will do wonders.

3) Shift your work hours. If you find yourself getting antsy to leave the office at 3pm, see if you can shift your work hours to be earlier in the day, at least for the short-term. It's easy to get out of the house early in the morning when you know you're heading home with plenty of time to get through your lengthy to-do list.

 

Posted: 9/11/2017 2:33:32 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments