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Cure for the Summertime Blues

This article is written by Peri Kadaster, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

The end of Summer is traditionally an odd time in the working world, with people vacationing or “summer Friday-ing.” In 2020, times have been anything but traditional, with some people balancing working from home and others also taking care of or even schooling their kids. August is always the last gasp of summer, a slow month – but this year there are even more challenges to team productivity. How can startups stay productive?

Take a break. Research shows that “bosses agree that vacation improves an employee’s focus (78 percent) and alleviates burnout (81 percent).” Employees may enjoy improved engagement and retention too, noting that “employees who reported that their company encourages vacation (68 percent) are much happier with their jobs than those who work at places where either vacation is discouraged or managers are ambivalent about taking time off (42 percent).” In short, time off is an investment with a positive ROI – return on investment – for productivity in the short term and happiness in the long run. 

Make your bed every day (really). When working remotely, the line between home and office (or, between bed and desk) can become blurry. But even when not operating from home, one small but important productivity trick is to make your bed every morning. Why? As one Navy Admiral noted, making your bed becomes the first task of your day, and when you complete one task, you get a small sense of pride and motivation. Put another way, it’s hard to be successful on a big task if you haven’t yet succeeded on a small task. Do one thing right to start your day.

Stand-ups and sit-downs. There is an energy that comes from teams that just can’t be replicated alone, so don’t lose connectivity with each other. Maintain the routines that help teams perform at their highest level, like stand-ups. And start new routines – make an extra effort – to compensate for the distance and stay engaged with colleagues. One-on-one “sit-downs” may feel different over video, but they help maintain both professional and personal connections that are critical to productivity and culture. There are best practices of how to make the most of any 1-1, whether with a manager or a peer. And you may find yourself energized about something new.

─ September 3, 2020