The summer break is something most of us look forward to. However, the break can certainly have both positive and negative effects on employee motivation and productivity. 

Some employees return to work with a clearer head and fresh ideas. Other employees can dread returning to the office, resent being kept away from friends, family and the beach and take a while to adjust to their new reality of work.  For some, returning to a structured way of life from the freedom that comes with a longer holiday period can bring on a depressive episode.

There are ways employers can ensure that employees re-adjust smoothly after the summer break.

iHR Managing Director Stephen Bell says ‘This is where leaders need to come to the fore. Achieving a balance between focus, camaraderie and fulfilment is essential.  Perhaps the first few days back can include a reminder of the annual or quarterly goals, group values as well as some team building and social reengagement activities. As a leader, your job is to get people focused and reengaged. You are not going to achieve that by plonking your people at a desk and ignoring the change they are going through.’

If you follow elite sporting teams, they do not just return back from a break to a full-on structured training sessions.  This is not just about the players’ physical condition, it’s just as much about their mental condition and getting the refocused as to what the team is trying to achieve.

Being a generally quieter time of year, January is often an ideal time to offer employees training in developing a new skill or honing an existing one. Being more up-to-date in their field of work can give employees more confidence and motivation, as well as putting their day-to-day role in a broader context. ‘Professional development activities are a great method of reminding your people that they are important to the organisation.  It also can reignite their sense of purpose’, says Mr Bell.

Recognition, whether it be via a staff competition, or a recap of the previous year’s achievements can help motivate staff in their day-to-day activities.

Involvement in strategy planning for the New Year can also set a broader context for day-to-day work tasks and improve motivation. Mr Bell says ‘This is really important in that it refocuses and reminds your people they are important to the future.

Trusting your staff to take their own time to adjust is also important.

Most importantly of all, workplace motivation depends strongly on a positive and balanced workplace culture.
There is a strong link between leadership behaviour and performance and how to create a high-performance culture through effective application of expectation setting, empowerment, evaluation, rewards and effective feedback.

I’m a Leader I’m a Coach leadership training helps workplace leaders to recognise the important role they also can play as a coach. Effective modern leaders work to increase the performance of teams and individuals, and to retain high-calibre employees.

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