As Temperatures Rise, Productivity Falls, Survey Shows


Nearly 30 years later,Bananarama’s haunting words once again ring true: it truly is a cruel, cruel summer…

…at least it is for those employers who say their workplaces are suffering from a decrease in employee productivity right now.

According to CareerBuilder’s recent survey on employee productivity, one in four employers (26 percent) think workers are less productive in the summer and nearly half (45 percent) think workers at their organization are currently burned out on their jobs.

Turns out, the reason employees seem burned out is because they are. (Shocking, right?)

Of the nearly 5,300 employees surveyed, 77 percent say they are sometimes or always burned out in their jobs, and 43 percent say their stress levels on the job have increased over the last six months.

The rising stress could be a result of heavier workloads. Nearly half (46 percent) of employees reported an increase in their workloads in the last six months, while only eight percent said their workloads decreased.

As if feelings of burnout aren’t enough to distract workers, summer provides its own special recipe for productivity disaster: Nicer weather, vacation-fever, and kids being out of school led the list of reasons employers felt their workers were less productive.

Productivity perceptions differ
The goodish news is that productivity is actually up from previous years…depending on who you ask: Looking at overall productivity trends year-round, 30 percent of the more than 2,600 employers surveyed say workers are more productive today than before the recession began; while 12 percent feel workers are less productive than before the recession.

Employers who saw a rise in worker productivity during the recession primarily attribute the increase to the fear of losing a job and the effects of downsized staffs on individual workloads. In addition, 73 percent are seeing the increase sustain today and 14 percent state productivity has increased even more.

Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America, says it’s no wonder workers are feeling burned out right now. In a statement for the press release, Rasmussen says:

“The recession produced consequences for not just those who were laid off, but also for the many employees who were asked to work harder as a result of leaner staffs. While getting more out of a smaller workforce is a sign of organizational agility during unpredictable times, it’s hard to see such yields in productivity holding forever. Headcount will be needed to meet increasing demands.”

4 Fast Fixes to Employee Burnout
While there’s no (legally available) magic pill to make employee burnout go away, you can help relieve some of their feelings by implementing a few of the following tactics.

  1. If you love them, let them go. Encourage your employees to cash in their vacation time. Even if they can’t afford to leave town, taking a day or two off will help them refresh.
  2. Add an “ish” to that clock in/clock out time. If it works for your company, be a little more flexible with letting workers come in later or leave earlier, or maybe work from home a few days a week, so long as they get their work done. Better yet, consider implementing “Summer Fridays” and letting your employees off at noon to let them enjoy a little extra weekend time.
  3. Have class outside. Re-energizing your team could be as simple as taking a break from the routing and getting out of the office every once in a while. You might consider organizing an outing to a museum, baseball game, bowling alley or nearby restaurant for a team lunch or happy hour. In addition to boosting morale, out-of-office gatherings give co-workers a chance to mingle in a more relaxed environment, strengthening both business and personal relationships.
  4. Adjust the A/C. Yep, you read that right. It may sounds simple-to-the-point-of-silly, but a recent survey shows extreme office temperatures can affect worker productivity. It may be hot outside, but that doesn’t mean the a/c has to go bull blast inside. Don’t ignore the a/c either, though. Smelly, sweaty and hot is a triple threat to productivity, if not the senses.

Are you feeling the effects of worker burnout this season? How are you coping?

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