Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Cure for the Summertime Blues

Summer has officially arrived and unless you are in the HVAC business or own or operate an RV park, campground, golf course, country club, marina, hotel or motel, you may be about to experience a decrease in demand for your products and services. Summertime can mean reduced website traffic, fewer leads and slower sales due to prospects away from computers and desks. And then there is your workforce. Researchers say workplace productivity drops by 20% between June and August, with attendance decreasing by 19% and employees reporting that they’re at least 45% more distracted.

What should you do?

Make sure your workers take their earned time off and embrace the summer for the positive impact it can have on your business.

Harvard Business Review reported that “more than half of Americans give up paid time off.” Good for your bottom line? No. Because not taking breaks impacts the mind, body, and soul.

According to HBR, everyday work pressures elevate stress hormones and suppress the immune system. These pressures keep individuals from evaluating what is important to them, what they want out of life, and cause cognitive fatigue, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and impaired problem-solving ability. No matter how many meditation apps or mental health and physical wellness benefits we offer to help our teams, it is breaks (even small ones) that improve sleep and moods, and boost creativity, memory, and concentration.

HBR also quoted an Ernst & Young study that showed “for every additional 10 hours of vacation time taken, employees’ year-end performances improved 8%, and another study showed that using all vacation time increases the chances of getting a promotion or a raise.” Tell that to your non-PTO taking team members!

As for business impact and creativity, who hasn’t set an exhausted problem aside, “stopped thinking about it,” and woken in the middle of the night with an idea that bridges an obstacle they had been dancing around all day. Assorted studies have shown people are more likely to solve certain puzzles and discover brilliant ideas when laying on their backs, sleeping, showering, or doing less demanding mental tasks, demonstrating that relaxing provides an opportunity for nonrational processes to make way for innovative ideas to emerge.

• Lin-Manuel Miranda conceived of Hamilton while on vacation
• George de Mestral came up with Velcro while hunting (and observing burrs in dog fur)
• Kay Zufall dreamt up Play-Doh as a toy while reading the newspaper
• Constantin Fahlberg discovered the sweetener saccharin while eating a dinner roll (with unwashed hands)

This summer at the company I lead, we did something we had done before but at a different time of year. We brought together a small group of client executive leaders whose organizations use one of our originations products for an idea-packed day of brainstorming around the industry — problems, issues, and things to be excited or concerned about.

While it was more circumstance than intent that led us to June, and while I expect that group was smaller than if we had met in spring or fall, I think all benefitted from the summer’s more relaxed environment. The ideas flowed. Relationships solidified. And while it is too early to claim someone conceived of the next greatest lending technology innovation while eating a steak dinner, it certainly would not surprise me.

Obviously in each of the stated instances as well as other instances of discovery and innovation, there is upright, out-of-the-shower work that has to occur at some time for the fruition of idea to product. So I am not advocating for no work or more play than work, but simply recommending downtime for the positive impact it can have on your business.

But this summer, do yourself and your business a favor. Take a break. Take two. Use your PTO. Relax and improve your well-being. Boost creativity. And when you do return to work, get to work. You will return stronger. Better able to perform your job. Meet your client commitments. Improve yourself. Improve your team. Be more likely to better engage challenges. More able to solve problems. And who knows what ideas you will bring with you. Because some of the greatest ideas and innovations might just come from these moments of relaxation.

Tom Allanson
Tom Allanson
Tom Allanson is CEO of defi SOLUTIONS. With an open-door attitude and client-first enthusiasm, Allanson motivates and empowers team members to deliver excellence today while innovating for tomorrow. He has more than 25 years of executive leadership experience in fintech and lending and has consistently demonstrated an ability to build, grow, and enable high-performing teams and businesses. 
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