3 Surprising Stats on Summertime Workplace Productivity (& How to Beat the Odds)

June 21, 2017 Abby Oberholtzer

It’s starting to happen in offices everywhere – the dreaded summer slump. Attention spans are growing shorter, summer vacations are making offices sparse, and overall employee engagement is starting to take a beating.  Being uber-productive in the summer is a major challenge. Check out these jaw-dropping statistics from a Captivate Office Pulse study and find out ways your team can turn the tide! 


Workplace productivity drops 20% and projects take 13% longer to complete. 


Many businesses don’t claim the summer months as their busy season. When there are fewer high priority projects in the pipeline, it’s easy for employees to assume a lax schedule and attitude toward less hot projects.  Vacationing employees cause other team members to err on the side of “let’s wait until _______ gets back.” 

What to do about it:

Momentum is key. Set the expectation that there is still highly important work to get done.  Summer schedules make a work-life balance tricky. Introduce flexible hours and work from home options to further encourage employees to do their work where they can be most productive and stay on track with current projects. Trusting your employees with workplace freedom can limit the amount of half and full PTO days they would otherwise use to navigate their rigid work schedules.

Additionally, encourage employees to adopt a “war room mentality” in ongoing initiatives. Just because one key player is soaking up rays at the beach for a week doesn’t mean your momentum needs to come to a screeching halt. At the end of every meeting or email chain, establish clear and actionable takeaways for each team member. Keeping plans organized like this can help boost synergy and break down silos during vacation season. 


Workers are 45% more distracted. 


Fewer people are in the office making it peaceful and maybe a little boring in the office. Warm sunny days invite employees to catch up on some much-needed R&R.  Managers and supervisors are on vacation. It’s no wonder that attention spans wane during the summer. In fact, 63% of American workers admit to socializing with coworkers more, and 51% take extended lunch breaks

What to do about it:

Keep employees engaged and focused by scheduling fun “brain breaks.” Organize a walk outside for your department, or pass out adult coloring pages for them to be creative with. Depending on your organization’s social media policy, surprise your team by sending out an email alerting them that they have the next 5-10 minutes to catch up on their social media feeds.

Schedule these breaks for your employees with the mutual understanding that when your team isn’t enjoying a scheduled fun activity, then all their brain power and focus needs to be focused on the tasks at hand. 


Attendance dips more than 19%.


Summer vacations and seasonal absenteeism contribute to emptier offices everywhere.  Parents with school-aged children often have a different childcare routine, making half days and flex hours well-used. Plus, sunshiny days make the mysteriously convenient sick days enticing for hourly and even salaried employees.

What to do about it.

Incentivize employees by offering them an additional PTO day they can use during Labor Day Weekend if they don’t have any unplanned absences (excluding paid vacations and approved time off, of course) throughout the entire summer. This practice may help prevent sick day abuse and give employees something to look forward to.

The odds may not be in your favor when it comes to summertime workplace productivity, but don’t let that dictate your team’s output!  Looking for more ways to boost employee engagement this summer? Download our Summer Engagement Activity Guide!



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