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  • Writer's pictureCarole Stizza

The Summertime Alignment Problem

Ahh - the sun! the pool! the vacation!

Ugh - there’s still work, client commitments, and deadlines.

The tension between relaxation and the demands of work often gets thrown into misalignment

when you add the demands of children on summer break, entertaining traveling guests, and the

need to reset.

When the kids are destined to be home from school on summer break, a lot of planning

goes into helping them stay busy, active, engaged, and occupied while you and your spouse

maintain a consistent work schedule. Groupon surveyed over 2000 parents and 58% said they

were stressed over how to keep their kids busy and supervised during the summer. When

stress at home is present, it leaks over into work. In another survey by KinderCare, 60% of

parents report they work remotely or hybrid, meaning they juggle work and kids in the same

household. Childcare can be too costly and waitlists too long to make summertime childcare an

option for many, leaving parents to juggle more than they do the other 9 months of the work

year. I call this the childcare crunch. The childcare crunch gets elevated during the summer

months, as these are typically kids who do not need childcare the other 9 months of the year.

And then there are the wonderful, well-meaning, very entertaining yet sometimes demanding,

friends and family who travel during the summer and come to visit. The need to be present for

them and still meet demands at work can often come at the cost of enjoying either.

In a Westfield Health Wellbeing Index, 57% of HR professionals notice colleagues suffering from

burnout during the summer and 41% say it impacts productivity. So how do leaders help

support stressed employees during the summertime childcare crunch, visitor vibrations, and

the need to simply reset?

Erin Owen, MBA wrote a LinkedIn article addressing what leaders can do to help their

organizations handle the demands experienced during the summer months. Here are a few of

her suggestions from a robust list that I found worth sharing to get creative juices flowing.

  • Host Brainstorming Sessions - A unique way to refocus that mindset is to have sessions where employees are encouraged to share their strategic visions and ideas for the business during slower periods.

  • Embrace the Slow Down - Summer is a time to embrace work-life flexibility as part of employee wellness. Accept that there will be variability in team schedules with summer vacations and school out of session.

  • Encourage Passion Projects - This is the perfect time to engage staff in their motivators and their passion projects. You should also have targeted conversations regarding their career development.

  • Promote Time for Self-Care - Summers provide an excellent opportunity for upskilling, reskilling, cross-training, creativity and self-care.

  • Take Meetings Outside - From traditional meetings occurring during a morning hike or midday meetings happening at a local park. Being outdoors keeps staff engaged and excited during this season.

  • Validate the Summer Slow Down Feeling - take these four steps:

  1. Acknowledge the summer slowdown directly.

  2. Validate the team's feelings and how you want them to enjoy the summer.

  3. Review the goals of the business, and get a re-commitment on those goals.

  4. Then, set a summer 4-day work week, review coverage for all vacations and support the summer mindset by joining in.

These same ideas can be addressed for those working remotely too. Acknowledge what you

are feeling and plan accordingly to give yourself more space, grace, and time to enjoy learning

something new for yourself. You will find that many of your best ideas that you can take back

into work, often occur when you are not at work.

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