“Dog days of summer – productivity hacks!

Well yet another great week followed by an equally lovely weekend.  I don’t think Manchester has ever had so much sunshine in a prolonged period!!!

We’re now a few days into August and the holiday period is in full swing, the world cup and Wimbledon have finished but the children are now all fully on holiday!  This is a time that many employers and business owners dread as productivity inevitably falls. It’s hot, people are thinking of the sunny evenings, BBQ’s with family and friends, holidays on far flung beaches and not being cooped up in a hot office.

Productivity declines at this time of the year

Did you know that according to American express there is a decline in the workplace of 20% in productivity, a 19% drop in employee attendance and even a 200% increase in shopping during work hours….who’d have thought it!!!

The “dog days” of summer

So what can you do to beat “The dog days of summer” – well  the simple answer is get people “in the zone” when they are in work and not, when their off! Simple right, well maybe not!!  Seriously though its really important for everyone to take their holidays and rest and relax, even you as the business owner!!  You need people to be refreshed and raring to go when they are back with their batteries re-charged.    Another aspect is that you need your team when they are in work to be “present” and working at full capacity, not thinking about what they need to buy for tonights BBQ.  You need them to effectively operate as a switch, either fully on or fully off (dependent on whether they are in work or not)!! 

  • Jim Rohn once said “When you are at the office, be at the office and don’t be thinking about the beach. Then when you are at the beach, be fully at the beach”.  How often have you felt guilty about not being at the office …be honest, I know I have.
  • Another good tip is Schedule your “other” summer stuff, whether it’s a day off with the kids, or going for a round of golf, schedule it in. This is so you can STOP thinking about it at work.  It will literally release you to be fully focused during work when it’s work time.  Plus you’ll work that much harder to enable you to be able to take the time off.

Create a summer Schedule

What you could do to combat “the Dog days of summer syndrome” is create a special summer schedule at your office.

  1. Make sure your team take all the days holiday that they are entitled to in order to enable them to be recharged.
  2. Allow flexibility during the summer but encourage people to be fully “plugged” in whilst at work and “unplugged” when they are at home.
  3. You could allow people to arrive early and leave early on a Friday.
  4. The dress code could be relaxed, for example if it’s sweltering outside allow the guys to wear smart shorts
  5. Organise a company outing
  6. Allow people to work from home a bit more. 
  7. Try if at all possible to keep the office to a cool 70 to 72 degrees to keep the focus.

Be flexible

The important message here is be flexible, remember many of your team may have children and will no doubt be  juggling childcare, so later starts to enable parents to drop them at school camps may well be greatly appreciated.

  • Encourage your team to plan, so when they walk through the door, whatever time it is they can hit the ground running as their day is already planned out and they can just get going.
  • Prioritize output over hours, remember its not the number of hours you work, but what gets produced during each hour that is more important.
  • Encourage your team to block of chunks of time to get stuff done and set deadlines. It is amazing how deadlines get stuff done.


Make it fun, whether that’s introducing a fun competition aimed at encouraging results in a light-hearted way, and the winner gets to go to a sporting event, or a meal out of other such reward, often fosters a team environment and gentle competition.  Or even something as simple as bringing in ice creams to keep everyone cool or a 5 minute break outside it all helps to foster that team environment.


Hope you have a super productive and efficient summer.






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