Chapter 6: There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues!

I don’t know about your situation, but to me, the nicer weather of the summer brings different issues to the workplace.  Not only is it the issue of vacations and the length of time that co-workers may not interact with each other due to consecutive weeks off, I think that we all feel the pull of the lazy, hazy days of summer.

Motivation at times either wanes or is directed to other pursuits.  It’s a challenge! And it takes effort on the part of managers to make sure that communicating expectations is a bit more frequent.  Not that people are consciously goofing off, its just human nature to want to take advantage of the longer days and warmer temperatures.

So what can you do?  I have found doing some fun things during the day helps break the wistful looks on peoples faces.  Surprise lunches, impromptu happy hour, taking a staff walk on a nice day helps everyone get refreshed and it’s a great message to send that the boss knows and values the people that make it happen every day.

As an employee, maybe you bring in some home-made pickles, or cornbread.  Tell everyone about a new restaurant that we can all try for a staff outing.  You can also try to recognize that you may be experiencing the pull to gaze outside or not be as focused as you typically are.  Once you are aware, you can address the work at hand.

And maybe the title is a bit misleading.  There is a cure, it is actually taking the time off you have earned and really use it to decompress, rejuvenate, and not be a worker for that time.  The proliferation of social media, constant emails and being connected to work makes it really difficult to detach.  

But that’s how burnout begins.  Sometimes ya gotta just turn it off.  If it is a real emergency, your supervisors and teammates know how to get you.  You really don’t have to answer that email right now, or pick up that call.  It will be there when you get back, or one of the others will take of it, just like you would for them.

It is hard.  But the best thing you can do for your team, is to come back ready to go and not still shot from the daily grind.

So I am going to take my own advice!  This blog is a bit shorter than usual because I am heading out for a walk!

Have a great summer. 

Meet the Author
Joe Stout is the former Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation. In that capacity, Joe oversaw an operating budget of $55 million and a capital budget of $250 million. He supervised a staff of more than 340 annual employees, over 1,000 summer staff, and the operation of more than 44 parks encompassing over 18,000 acres of parkland. Read more about Joe >