Why does productivity suffer in summer?

If you find your productivity levels drop as temperatures rise, don’t beat yourself up trying to find out why – it might not even be your fault! Here’s why…

Does your productivity suffer in the summer?

If you find yourself tempted to slack off from work in the summer months, you’re not alone – a study from the Captive Network, a US-based digital media company, has found productivity drops by a massive 20% between June and August.

Not only that, attendances also decreased by 19% during these months, and workers claimed to be 45% more distracted.

Similarly, a study from Grasshopper, an entrepreneurial network, found that 25% of office workers felt their productivity decreased in the summer, with 33% admitting to daydreaming more at work during the hotter months.

And the reason for this appears to simply be the heat – the higher the temperature the less productive we are. Not only that, but if the office is too cold then errors increase.

Everything you need to know about the summer slump is in the infographic below – does any of it sound familiar?

How to keep cool in the office

If you find yourself arguing with the intern over the thermostat, remember there are more ways to keep cool in the office, so here are some ways to keep cool in at work the summer months…

  • Dress for the weather
  • Get out at lunchtime
  • Stay hydrated
  • Get up earlier for an easier commute
  • Sit by an open window (if the air con isn’t working), or take your work outside.

And if you work from home, check out How to keep cool when working from home.

How to beat the summer productivity slump

If you’re feeling the heat in work, both physically and metaphorically, here’s how to beat the summer productivity slump.

  • Get the temperature right – The correct workplace temperature is essential for optimal performance. A study from the Helsinki University of Technology and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that the optimal office temperature is between 21°C and 22°, and also that productivity drops by 2% for every degree over 77°C. It’s not just a question of heat though, as the findings also showed that error rates increase dramatically when the indoor temperature drops below 20°C.
  • Get out of the office – Things can get frustrating when you’re trapped between the same four walls for eight hours a day, so use the good weather as an excuse to work outside whenever and wherever possible. This could be in the local park, outside a local coffee shop, or even on a bit of green space outside the office. You’ll be surprised just how re-invigorated you’ll feel.
  • Change your routine – Our body clocks are affected by the weather, which means we’re more productive at different times of the day at different times of the year. If you find the lighter mornings mean you’re up earlier, seize the opportunity to get out of bed and begin work earlier, then take the time back later in the day. Also try to focus on the most important tasks during your more productive periods, and even consider the Pomodoro Technique, which sees you work in bursts of 25 minutes.

There’s no silver bullet when it comes to a dip in productivity, the important thing is to not let the inertia consume you and find a system that works.

Do you find your productivity drops in summer? Or are your staff less productive? How do you overcome the problem and help make sure everyone keeps up their concentration levels? Let our business community know in the comments section…