Mastering time management in the workplace can be a unique challenge, particularly during the summertime. The call to bask in the heat, to enjoy the outdoors, and to take it easy is all too enticing in the summer.
Despite this, important tasks must be accomplished and deadlines met. As a manager, it's your duty to keep everyone on-task, ensuring your team is utilizing their time effectively and managing their best work while still juggling vacation approvals.
But how can you maintain productivity and ensure everyone has a pleasant summer season?
Managing summertime productivity hinges on time management skills and motivation. By cultivating good time management strategies, you can easily motivate your team to have a fulfilling time both during and between work hours.
Let's dive into eleven of the most effective time management tips for team leaders to ensure a better work-life balance and reduced stress levels.
1) Create a To-Do List and Build a Dynamic Schedule
At the heart of time management is task management. Summer is a time when many people are easily distracted by the desire to unwind, and having a clear to-do list can help keep everybody focused. Use project management systems and modern task management tips to ensure both solo and group similar tasks are taken care of every day.
Take time to outline every task that will need to be completed during your summer season. Break projects and processes up into individual tasks that can be assigned to your team members. Prioritize tasks and track their completion to keep your employees engaged while the summer sun is calling.
2) Use Task-Specific Time Tracking Tools
Productivity can be a challenge in the summer, which is why time management tools like time tracking are incredibly useful. Task-by-task time tracking can help your team to clearly demonstrate when they are working on each assignment and how long it takes. This will give you, as the manager, the insights you need to determine workload balance and productivity.
Time tracking tools that allow employees to clock in and out of specific tasks provide the greatest transparency without needing to micro-manage. The ability to track tasks on a mobile app also allows employees to tackle more than just desk-based tasks on the list.
3) Create a Big Summer Goal & Track Progress on the Wall
Big summer goals are a tradition that adults still enjoy from our shared school days. One of the best ways to keep your team engaged in summer productivity is to set a big summer goal and track your progress graphically on the wall.
Build a thermometer or a running track out of construction paper and celebrate each stage of progress your team makes each week. Generate excitement about the summer project and create rewards for landmark achievements along the way.
While we may be past getting stickers for our achievements, most people feel good about seeing their accomplishments celebrated in bright colors on the office wall, and will work harder as a team to meet their weekly goals.
4) Control the Influence of Summer Sunshine
You might be surprised how much influence the summer sunshine can have on productivity. We have instinctual and deeply ingrained responses to the summer sun. Holding focus meetings in an interior room or hosting breaks on the sunny patio can both boost spirits and improve overall performance.
Create dark spaces where your team will forget what time it is, and they are less likely to get distracted or sleepy in the afternoon.
Flood the office with that same afternoon sunshine when it's time to clean up for the day and watch your team speed up to get outdoors without even realizing it.
5) Ask for Vacation Requests Early
One of the biggest challenges in summer time-management for employers is juggling vacation requests. You'd like to grant everyone extra time with their families for camping trips, their children's summer programs, and days at the beach - but you also need to keep the right number of people on-staff at all times.
To accomplish this, encourage everyone to submit their requests for vacation early and try to remain flexible until you build the schedule. This gives you a chance to approve, deny, or compromise the timing of days off to keep your team adequately staffed while still granting some vacation time to each person who wants it.
6) Schedule/Approve Vacations with Workflow in Mind
When planning for employees' time off, always consider how their absence will impact the workflow. For instance, it would be ideal if an employee could finish their part of the project and then go on vacation when their contribution is less critical.
Alternatively, you might approve a vacation for an employee who can return before their critical role in the project workflow begins.
7) Ensure a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is crucial all year 'round, but it can be more demanding in the summer. Summertime is when many people want to get home a little early, take long weekends, and make personal plans. Providing the right work-life balance opportunities is essential.
Team members who crave time in the park or at the beach should have ample personal time to enjoy their outings between scheduled work periods.
At the same time, it's important to encourage your most dedicated workers to take regular breaks and breathe some fresh air. Especially if they are inclined to overwork by picking up the slack of their adventure-seeking colleagues.
8) Consider More Flexible Summer Scheduling
Sometimes, 9-5 isn't the best schedule for summertime productivity. You might consider allowing your team to spread their schedules out more than usual to capture their peak productivity times, while also making room for the occasional long weekend.
For instance, let's say one employee zones out in the afternoon but is a natural summer night owl. Approving some work hours to be completed at home can yield a great deal more productivity submitted the next morning.
Others can't sleep when the summer sun is out, and may want to start their day particularly early in return for leaving in the late afternoon to spend more time outdoors.
Another example might be an employee who wants to front-load their weekly work hours to take a long weekend. As long as everyone is clocking in the right number of hours and turning in quality work, a flexible schedule can be quite rewarding.
9) Permit Working Vacations with Performance Conditions
The recent shift to remote-capable work systems has opened up a new avenue for approved vacations: Working vacations.
When employees can log into company systems from anywhere, they can also slip a few daily hours of work into a family vacation for partial time off.
Under these conditions, it becomes possible to approve more vacation requests for the same summer days, with the understanding that each remote-working employee will log their approved number of hours during that time.
With time tracking tools, you can confirm that they are working and they can clock in/out without having to actually "be at work".
10) Embrace the Summer Fridays Tradition
If you want to score big points with your team, consider the Summer Fridays tradition. This is the practice of letting your team out a little early on Fridays during the summer. Whether it's three in the afternoon or an hour before usual quitting time, Summer Fridays are a delightful way to give your team more personal time in the summer without reducing the overall weekly work hours.
To be fair to your team, ensure that there is a system in place for early leavers to either finish their work early or pass it off cleanly to someone still working.
11) Plan Group Outings or Gatherings
Last but not least, remember that team building is also an essential part of productivity. Plan a few group outings or gatherings to celebrate the summer with your team.
This could be a BBQ in the park, a morning at the beach, or a team-building trip to the local amusement park.
Team outings not only build stronger bonds and team cohesion, but they also offer a natural form of reward for hard work and dedication in the summer.
Take Charge of Your Team's Summer Productivity
Managing your team's summertime productivity requires a careful balance of work, relaxation, and team spirit. By implementing these effective time management tips and strategies, you can maintain productivity, reduce stress, and ensure a healthy work-life balance for everyone.
Most importantly, remember that the key to success is working smarter, not harder. From creating a daily schedule and tracking tasks to promoting a healthy lifestyle and encouraging regular breaks, these strategies will ensure you and your team have a fulfilling and successful summer season.
With the summer season in full swing and the need for effective time management more crucial than ever, having a reliable tool to assist in managing tasks can be a game changer. Shiftbase is an innovative SaaS workforce management solution designed to optimize your team's productivity.
Its comprehensive suite of features, including employee scheduling, time tracking, and absence management, allows for seamless operation during these challenging times. By integrating Shiftbase into your workflow, you can ensure that tasks are prioritized, deadlines are met, and, most importantly, your team's work-life balance is maintained throughout the summer months.
Ready to transform your team's productivity and work smarter? Try Shiftbase for free for 14 days and experience the difference of a streamlined, efficient workforce management system.