We hope you are all back to work and feeling refreshed after the summer holidays! This week the kids went back to school and usual service resumed for commuters. Having a lovely break and exotic holiday is all fine and well, however we all struggle with returning to work after time away from the office. The biggest struggle is arguably after the long summer break – when the weather is becoming cooler, the days shorter and we’ve lost that summer glow. Struggling to get your head ‘back in the game’ can affect productivity, attendance and motivation. So what can employers do to prevent the dreaded ‘post-holiday blues’ and encourage employees to stay motivated and productive?
Consider offering a new incentive or perk to kick off September with a bang. This can be something small, like ‘coffee Friday’ where the MD/manager does a coffee run for everyone (and foots the bill!) or something bigger like a bonus/ financial incentive for the top performer. Bear in mind however that it should be something that is of some value to your employees, otherwise it won’t work as a motivating tool.
Hold a staff meeting when everyone is back from holiday, as a means of getting staff to refocus on the common goal and get them back into the work mind-set. Why not make it more fun by ordering pizza – you would be surprised at how quickly your staff will RSVP to a meeting with pizza!
Too many meetings spoil the broth
If you are upping the meetings and arranging them on a weekly (or even daily!) basis, with the aim of motivating staff and improving productivity – be careful! There is nothing worse to demotivate an employee than feeling micromanaged. Too many meetings may leave employees feeling under pressure and over-monitored. Effectively, the opposite of what you are trying to achieve! Let your staff get on with their working day without too many interruptions. Meetings should only really be called to make a decision that requires more than one person’s input, or to discuss something that has an impact on the business. Anything else may well be a waste of your (and your employees’) time.
Work life balance
It is around this time that some employees may start thinking about work life balance. You may find that an employee wishes to do the school run, spend more time with their children or has an elderly relative to care for. You should therefore have clear policies on family friendly rights and flexible working, and be as flexible as you can bearing in mind the needs of your business. Both the employer and employee should work together to try and reach a workable arrangement, and both should be prepared to compromise. Where a business is inflexible, it runs the risk of losing talented employees to its competitors, and/or demotivating the employee resulting in reduced productivity. This can be far more costly to you in the long run than accommodating flexible working!
Make employees feel valued and give opportunities for progression/growth
If a business is paying an employee to sit at work feeling unhappy and unfulfilled, they are in fact costing them money rather than making revenue for their business. Therefore, show your employees that they are valued and that their contribution matters to your business. If they have asked for progression opportunities, offer them that where possible. If employees want to attend courses and training to better themselves, why not support that.
Encourage positivity in the workplace
No-one likes coming to work to a negative and tense atmosphere. Gossip, bickering and/or conflicts within the workplace can have a very detrimental effect on morale and productivity. Employers should work hard to promote a positive and inclusive atmosphere in the workplace. It should be made clear that gossip is to be kept out of the workplace. Employees should also be made aware of the grievance procedure, and informal ways of resolving disputes in the workplace. Problems should be tackled as they arise, rather than being allowed to fester and impact the rest of the workforce. There is no doubt that an open and supportive workplace does wonders for improving attendance, productivity and ambition.
Communication is key
Make sure communication channels are open between you and your workforce. Gone are the days of the MD/manager sitting locked away in their office, completely removed from their staff. It is now commonplace for managers to have an ‘open door policy’ and for staff to be encouraged to communicate with management. Whatever your approach, the only way you can really know what is going on within your workforce is by talking to them.
Remember always take advice for your particular circumstances!
Also the creator of this piece, Aida Smajlovic – our employment law solicitor, did a radio interview regarding the matters within this blog. Be sure to click here to listen to the full interview.
If you have any questions about your obligations as an employer, or you are an employee concerned about an issue at work, please contact Gelbergs’ Employment Team on 0207 226 0570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .