Often, the only predictable thing about summer if you work in business is a daily “Out of Office” message from a client or colleague. While many business professionals refer to summer as the slow season, summer can actually require more from us. Conducting business and keeping a regular pace at work requires that we adjust our business tools and rely more on our intuitive, relational side. Between vacations and shorter hours, we need to be more proactive in picking up the unspoken cues from those around us. Overall, the summer season demands that we use our emotional intelligence- not just seasoned business acumen- to determine where, when and how to engage with others who may be operating on a different wavelength.
Here is a list of smart business practices to keep top-of-mind this summer:
- Allow more time for projects. In order to accommodate summer schedules, it is never a bad idea to get the ball rolling earlier than usual on certain tasks. A longer lead-time will ensure that a project will be completed accurately and on time, even if there is a slight delay.
- Shorten emails. The sun in shining outside and attention spans are shorter than ever. Keep emails simple and to the point so that important details are not overlooked. It never hurts to use bold or underline styles to emphasize a key point.
- Be flexible. It is rarely easy to coordinate multiple schedules, let alone during vacation prime time. Try to keep an open mind when suggesting meeting times and be prepared with backup dates.
- Reconnect. Use summer as a time to reestablish connections with colleagues and clients. Go out to lunch or make a phone call instead of sending an email. Take the time to build your social media persona, expand your network and develop a more approachable, interactive image.
- Get organized. Take advantage of the lull in business activity and use it as an opportunity to work on other projects or tidy workspace and file cabinets.
- Maintain a professional wardrobe. Save the flip-flops, short skirts and barely-there tops for the weekend, always dressing with business style in mind – it matters just as much how you look in the office, as visiting a client’s office. It is always smart to wear a flexible outfit to transition between the scorching temperatures outside and the chilly A/C in the office.
How does your office maintain a positive work environment during the summer?