Summer is a busy time of year. School is out for kids, and the warm weather makes it much more inviting to get out of the house. For these reasons and many others, businesses call the summer months the busiest time of year, with a few exceptions being made around Christmas time.
Business owners and managers have a lot to prepare for as the midpoint of the calendar approaches. More products need to be prepared, marketing campaigns need to be dropped, and store hours might even need to be shifted. The more preparation that can be done, the more potential the summer season has of being a success.
Your team is an integral part of your business and directly correlates with how your business performs. This article will offer some ideas to help you get your team ready for summer and ways your team can help make final preparations:
Review Your Operations for Efficiency
Your system might be running on all cylinders right now, but summertime is entirely different. If you’re anticipating your business to be a lot busier in the coming months, your operations could use a tune-up just to be safe.
Make a checklist that includes every aspect of your daily business operations. Take a look at payroll, shift changes, supply chain, and anything else that you can see potentially hitting a snag. Work out any kinks you find now before they really start to cause problems.
Once you improve your efficiency, the summer season will be a lot easier to deal with. Better yet, you’ll have an improved system that will be helpful throughout the entirety of the year. You should always be on the lookout for ways to improve your efficiency.
Get Your Onboarding Started Early
Some companies look at hiring new employees or temporary help to deal with summer craziness. This shouldn’t be done in the middle of July. Start your onboarding too late in the season, and you’ll be juggling the chaos of increased customer inflow while simultaneously trying to provide quality training.
Give new employees at least a couple of weeks to get acclimated before throwing them into the mix. Allow them to get familiar with company policies, product locations, on-site technical equipment, or anything else they’ll be expected to know without supervision. This way, they can actually be of use during the busy summer instead of another variable to monitor.
In addition to your onboarding, existing employees could use some additional training as well. Make sure they’re all up to speed on any changes you want to make or difficulties you expect to encounter. The better you equip your team, the more successful your summer will be.
Clean and Organize Now
Another thing you should do before summer arrives is to get on top of your housekeeping. Take advantage of all the time you have now to complete that pile of menial tasks that you’ve put off for some time. While they might not seem major now, they will be incredibly annoying to deal with during the peak of the summer busy season.
Let’s say your filing system hasn’t been organized in a while. You might be getting on fine right now, but what about when you’re trying to sign up dozens of new customers lining out the door for a summer deal? You’ll be kicking yourself for not getting this done sooner.
This endeavor includes some old-fashioned spring cleaning. During the summer rush, finding the time to sweep the floors and tidy up the waiting room will be much more difficult. A good deep clean will make it so those cleanings don’t have to be so frequent, so these spaces can last until you can catch your breath.
Schedule Far in Advance
While summer is a busy time for businesses, it’s also a busy time for families for different reasons. Many people schedule their vacations, family reunions, and other activities for this time of year. You’ll have employees asking for time off because of this, which can cause some commotion. In most cases, you’ll be better off by trying to schedule things like employee time off as far in advance as possible.
Most major trips and events aren’t planned at the last second. Your team should have a general idea of what dates they need to take off. Talk with them all individually so the work schedule can be established as early as possible. This way, you won’t have to worry about being short-staffed on critical days of the season or feeling like you have to deny certain requests to make
There are other things you can schedule in advance. If you plan on holding meetings, get the dates set as soon as you can. Fitting in a last-minute meeting can be a major headache with everything else you have going on during the summer.
Find a Way to Compromise
You will be fielding many employee requests, not just asking for time off. You could spend all of your time arguing over the details with them, or you could take a step back and listen to their plights. Being able to compromise is an important skill for a leader, and it can navigate you through a lot of otherwise tricky situations.
Let’s talk about remote work for a moment. You may not have considered this option before for your business. Perhaps one of your employees suggests working from home over the summer so they can get work done while taking an extended summer vacation. Who responds to a request like this or a variation that you’ve never encountered before?
Instead of immediately dismissing the idea, consider the benefits of such a move. This employee might work from a desk and can easily take their work on the road. Do a test run with them, and you might see the same amount of productivity and production from them even when they’re away from the office.
Add Some Incentives
To be brutally honest, staying motivated during the busy season is difficult. Working hours feel longer and more exhausting and lost motivation leads to a severe drop in productivity. During this period, you’ll likely need to give your team a morale boost.
Try setting up some incentives for your team members. These could be sales goals, incentives for clocking in on time, or even a raffle weighted by hours worked per week. This gives your team something to work toward when there’s no apparent light at the end of the tunnel. They’ll be more willing to take that extra call, fill that extra order, or pick up that vacant shift.
Make sure you include everyone in your organization. Group incentives are useful for keeping everyone engaged, not just a select few. The promise of a future company event full of food and prizes is enough to put a pep into any team’s step. Don’t be afraid to be extra generous, too, after all of their hard work.
Summer won’t be easy, but it can be a productive and beneficial time of year for your business. Start preparing with your team now to take on the busy season head-on so that you can learn and grow rather than sit back on your heels.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Markus Spiske; Pexels; Thank you!