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WEEKLY AD

Take Advantage of Downtime at Work

Quick! Send now! Urgent! These are just a few of the phrases that busy small business owners hear too often. In fact, when that’s the norm, it’s hard for employers and their workers to know what to do with any downtime that might occur at work.

For many businesses, a slowdown comes during summer months when employees and customers may be on vacation or otherwise distracted by summer fun. But don’t let your employees be bored at the office. We challenge you to make this downtime a pivotal time for your business by taking advantage of the break to regroup, train and manage employees, and reward your staff.

Evaluate & Plan

Setting goals, evaluating business models and reviewing data are essential to making strong decisions in any business. Most owners and managers don't have time for analytics and strategy on a daily basis, so it's important to make use of any time when employees or clients aren't beating down the door. Schedule planning sessions at known downtimes, especially if you have to pull supervisors or critical staff from their tasks in order to strategize. In fact, your slowest month is often the best time to schedule a corporate retreat or all-day business planning session.

Offer Education and Training

Your employees should never be sitting around bored at the office when things get slow. You might think employees would enjoy doing nothing, but good staff members usually prefer to stay busy and feel productive. Use slow seasons as an opportunity for training, education and employee growth. Downtime at work is a great opportunity for annual training required by some industries. Yearly training could include occupational safety, privacy or customer service requirements. You could also offer employees the chance to cross-train in other departments or attend workshops. When you understand your business calendar, you can help employees gain valuable skills and improve overall team performance without sacrificing productivity or customer interactions during busy months.

Check in on Your Employees: Make Time to Motivate and Reward

Often, small business owners offer bonuses and other rewards during busy times because employers want to motivate stressed employees and cash flow isn’t an issue. It pays to reward employees during slow times, too. Consider scheduling a company picnic, office games or team-building events during slow times when staff can enjoy the activity without worrying about falling behind with their tasks. You should also encourage employees to take time off while they can, and never forget to take your own vacation at these opportune times.

Use summer downtime at work to get ready for the busy time just around the corner. You’ll appreciate the forethought in planning and will have less to worry about later.

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