Fight the festival productivity flop

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With Glastonbury kicking off festival season this weekend, employers must ensure that motivation doesn't dip among those staff left behind

Hundreds of festivals across the UK mean there isn’t a week that goes by in the Summer without employees taking time off to attend. Festivals have become a staple of the British Summer. But thousands of people being out of the office puts pressure on management to keep their teams motivated when left short-staffed, along with some in the workforce suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out).

As swathes take off with their tents, workforces will be hit with a strain on resources due to multiple office absences. Staff members securing pricey festival tickets so far in advance means firms may have to contend with a collision of annual leave, with those left behind expected to pick up the slack. So as we enter festival season employers need to have the right systems in place to avoid a productivity dip.

Small firms in particular can really suffer during this time. Fridays and Mondays during the Summer are marked by absent festivalgoers, which means those that are left behind can end up feeling bitter – or even burnt out. So how do employees and employers alike prepare for this office exodus?

If your employees are some of the many venturing out to festival fields then make sure they spare a thought for their colleagues and that work is handed over properly, however short the amount of time they will be away. Being inundated with work, or not being properly briefed, are sure-fire ways to get your already depleted team offside and resenting colleagues’ out of office emails, leading to issues once they’ve returned.

Remedy this by making it clear that your employees must be leaving thorough handover notes and getting ahead of work as much as possible before they head off. Everyone must be mindful and realistic when delegating pre-festival – if you know your team is already maxed out, ensuring they prioritise tasks correctly is essential.

The best handovers involve an in-person brief followed by an email outlining clear actions, owners and deadlines, with relevant email trails and files linked. A poor handover means workers could be coming back to no progress on key tasks, and no-one taking responsibility, creating a difficult and potentially uncomfortable working environment.

Not only do management have to worry about work being completed, with the weather set to improve motivation is key. To avoid morale and motivation dropping among remaining staff, offer incentives to keep the fun factor up for those left in the office. This could be anything from simply encouraging staff to take the time to relax during lunch breaks, to arranging team lunches or a social event for everyone to enjoy.

Mixing up the daily routine can also help. Can you hold meetings outside? A change of scene can help to improve creativity and spending time in the sunshine is always a plus. Productivity levels can dip if staff feel they’ve reached capacity, so ensuring your employees feel supported makes a big impact and providing Summer perks is one way to achieve this.

Ultimately, responsibility sits with each member of your team to make sure they handover their work along with the information needed to complete any key tasks while they’re away. Writing a handover, briefing teams and sharing relevant emails and information is underrated, meaning companies run the risk of work not being done – resulting in unhappy clients or customers. By making sure staff understand the importance of a handover, and what it needs to include, teams can stay productive while colleagues are away.

Alexandra Sydney is director at Totaljobs

Further reading

How pulling a sickie could lead to more duvet days than intended

Employers should embrace sporting events

Working in a heatwave: When is it too hot?

Out of office: Managing staffing levels during Summer

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