Dave Kerpen | Making August Your Most Productive Work Month
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Making August Your Most Productive Work Month

Making August Your Most Productive Work Month

The month of August is notoriously slow for business. People go away on vacation and for those who don’t, emails and calls can go unanswered for weeks and delays can pile up in the office. Many call this time of year the “dog days,” which, according to Wikipedia:

“were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.”

Lethargy? Fever? Mad dogs? OUCH.

Now, I don’t know about you, but staying productive through August is an important part of my focus and success every year. Plus, I like to avoid lethargy and mad dogs whenever possible.

So, I talked to leaders from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. I asked these CEO’s and entrepreneurs the secret to getting productivity out of their teams when the summer slowdown hits hardest in the dog days of August. These are their answers:

1. Hold Walk-and-Talk Meetings

Instead of our one-on-one meetings indoors, our managers meet with each member of their team for a 15-minute walking meeting outside. This way they get some fresh air, take a break from the office, and get some cardio into their work day. This is a great way to spark new ideas, gain inspiration and re-energize before returning to the office.

– Stephen Ufford, CEO, Trulioo

2. Reward Employees and Hold Reviews

Fun activities — such as Wine Wednesdays, dog days and weekly food truck rotations — reward employees and encourage them to want to spend time in the office. Additionally, we hold our employee reviews in the summer, celebrating achievements while also keeping people engaged. Summer hours are also a big booster for team morale, as workers feel they can have the best of both worlds: work and play.

– Jason Kulpa, Chief Executive Officer, Underground Elephant

3. Make Sure People Remain Accountable

At the start of each day, my team and I set one goal we hope to accomplish for the day. Later, we share whether we met our goal and if not, any obstacles that got in the way. Setting our own goals and being accountable to the team for meeting them helps to maintain our level of productivity.

– Mark Krassner, Founder and CEO, Expectful

4. Look Outside Your Task List

It’s easy to take a load off around summertime, especially if our clients are on vacation or slower to respond. Instead, we like to look at items we maybe don’t get to focus on as regularly as we’d like to during the busier months, and make room for them in the summer when we do have more time. Just because things are a bit slower in the summer months, doesn’t mean we need to be.

– John Hall, CEO, Influence & Co.

5. Remember That Kids Are Out of School

Many of our employees are working parents, and coordinating childcare when their kids are out of school can be difficult. I always do my best to give parents flexible schedules. That makes them more productive when they’re at work and keeps morale up.

– Ajay Gupta, CEO, Stirista

6. Set a Deadline, Push Hard and Then Automate Their Work

It’s funny how much work we’ll get done when we plan on being away from work for a week or two. So if your team plans on taking it easy and taking vacations, then plan the month ahead of time, and make sure that they meet their hardline deadlines before they leave. Then automate their work, their blog posts, and everything to act as if they’re actually there.

– Chris Brisson, CEO, Salesmsg

7. Give Surprise Days Off

If you give your employees a day off (with some notice) out of nowhere, you’ll be amazed at the level of appreciation and productivity that precedes and follows this day off. On Monday morning two weeks before (this gives significant others some notice), announce that the following Friday is a day off, giving your employees a three-day weekend. Then, ask people what they did as a subtle reminder.

– Bryce Welker, Founder & CEO, Crush The CPA Exam

8. Offer a Bonus

By establishing a bonus scheme for individual metrics, team goals are easier achieved. Most employees are motivated by bonuses in form of cash incentives for certain metrics that are met. It is important to set expectations and guidelines for these programs to keep them motivated in reaching the metrics, and discuss team performance during regular team meetings to update them.

– Daisy Jing, Founder, Banish

9. Be Flexible With Hours

I like to recommend flexible hours during the summer months. It’s a tougher time on parents and those who’d like to vacation, so it’s good to not have a rigid mindset during this time. Let staff come in later in the day if they need to and make up the time accordingly. I believe generally it’s better to have an accomplishment based mindset rather than a time completion one.

– Nicole Munoz, Founder, CEO, Start Ranking Now

10. Let People Work Remotely Once a Week

Last week we started Summer Wednesdays, which just means that on Wednesdays there are no scheduled meetings and employees can work remotely. It may seem counterproductive to have the team gone, but it actually gives everyone time to get work done without the distraction of office life. It also breaks up the week and leaves them coming into the office fresh on Thursday morning to finish the week.

– Ajay Yadav, CEO, Roomi

11. Maintain Good Communications and Well-Documented Processes

We encourage strong communication between team members so that if one is covering for another while they’re on vacation, both know what needs to be done. Having well-documented processes ensures nothing falls through the cracks. We also continue to have weekly team meetings in the summer, which helps keep everyone on the same page.

– Brian David Crane, Founder, Caller Smart Inc.

12. Cut Back on Business Hours

Because for many businesses the summer months tend to be slower, don’t keep your staff sitting around twiddling their thumbs. Inefficiency can hurt your productivity, so the more time your staff is spending being inefficient, the more productivity you will lose. Instead, cut back on your business hours and let your staff work shorter, more efficient hours. The shorter hours will be more effective.

– Diego Orjuela, CEO, Cables & Sensors

Now it’s YOUR turn. How about YOU? What do you do to keep your team and you productive during August when everyone is away? What was the most productive summer you’ve ever had? How were you able to maintain your focus? Please tell me in the Comments section below, and please share this post with your network to help them prepare for the rest of August!

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