There’s just something about that back-to-school timeframe that makes us want to get back on our grind—in a good way. Hustling. Motivated. Ready to crush it.
Whether it’s memories of hopping back in class with a summer reading book report in hand or readjusting the morning routine to include dropping your own children off at school, something about early September signals a mindset reset.
Channeling this renewed focus is critical to a company’s operations down the stretch.
It affects so many things in the company:
- Productivity in the short-term
- How strong the finish to the fiscal year will be
- How prepared the company will be for endeavors in the new calendar year.
However, the increase in focus for individuals must not come at the expense of of working within a team.
Here’s what to do when the pressure is on the company to make progress and reach important goals, according to Zog’s Founder & CEO, Robert Herzog.
What does “back-to-school” mean for an office?
“Summer is all about freedom and more of a focus on the individual. Going on vacation, training for a race, or setting some other personal goal are all things geared for yourself,” Herzog says.
“Then school starts and all of a sudden, you’re back on a stricter schedule. There’s a discipline associated with it because of the structured nature of all the activities the kids are participating in. That shift in regimen affects your daily routine, too.”
The change from individual to team-oriented goals, and from loose to tight scheduling is something the company should be mindful of when everyone is in the building again.
“For the first time since May, the whole team is back from vacation. Everyone is actually in the office at the same time again, and that’s when you need to re-engage with progress. Whether it’s school, annual planning, or closing out the third and fourth quarters of the year, there’s a recommitment to responsibilities and plenty of opportunities to execute and finish the year strong.”
What comes along with this change?
The reintroduction to a goal-oriented regimen is a crucial process that sets up the team for success when the third quarter winds down. It means more discipline to ensure priorities are taken care of.
“People are typically more focused on work around this time of year because there’s less distraction,” Herzog continues.
“They’re looking at the end of the year, the numbers they have four months left to hit, and the annual planning for their department is underway. There’s a sense of urgency that comes along with more reports, tighter deadlines, and higher expectations.”
However, Herzog stresses, it is just as critical to include a play component as this transition takes place to promote cohesive productivity among the team.
How to effectively channel the new season’s energy
“When your workers are getting pulled in multiple directions because of reports, meetings, and deadlines, it’s important to help them prioritize but also remind them to have fun,” says Herzog.
“That’s when you make sure to incorporate more team-bonding exercises so people remember it’s not all about work through Christmastime.”
Team-building can come in the form of fun themed-lunches, an office fantasy football league or pick ’em pool, and weekly contests.
Also, just because Summer Fridays come to an end doesn’t mean Fridays have to be less fun. Having an occasional company outing or in-office happy hour can also help the team decompress together after a long week.
“It’s important to start these activities on the early side and not wait until Thanksgiving to reinvigorate the team.”
Maintaining morale is definitely necessary to be able to continue high-level productivity while reducing burnout. In addition to infusing play, be sure to increase communication across all channels too.
“Increasing effective communication and being more deliberate about feedback becomes especially important so no one gets lost in the influx of work,” Herzog notes.
“That means improving meeting rhythms to keep everyone in the loop at all times. It means staying on top of monthly management meetings to ensure we’re focused on the right goals. Your all-hands meetings should be informative and structured. And by end of September, your annual planning needs to come into focus too. Basically, you have to increase communication across the board.”
Through these practices, the company can successfully navigate any seismic shifts that may come along the way as you enter the final phases of the year.
At ZogCulture and ZogSports, we’re feeling these September vibes. Now that the team is back in full swing, it’s the right time to make a push toward a positive, productive, and playful end of the year. Who’s with us?
Like what you read? Don’t be shy. Follow the Zog Blog for more tips on bringing fun, play, and good vibes into your company this fall and beyond. #PlayAtWork