As we enter the summer months, employees across all businesses are preparing for the holidays. Whist for some this means booking your annual leave, packing a suitcase, and getting as far away from the workplace as possible, for others, the longer days, change of routine and additional workload can send employees spiralling into a wave of seasonal summer burnout.

Despite the holiday season often being seen as a time to relax and recharge from the pressures and responsivities of the workplace, the holiday period can be one of the most chaotic periods for businesses, being slammed with fewer resources, less manpower and the pressure to maintain the same results. Combine this with the additional task that many employees face when it comes to taking care of children on school break and it’s obvious why the warmer weather can cause employees to break a sweat.

Spotting the signs

When it comes to spotting the warning signs that an employee is experiencing burnout, employer’s eyes should turn to working parents, who often juggle playdates, lunchtimes, and general entertainment responsibilities with their workplace ones. Additionally, in today’s challenging cost of living crisis, childcare options are limited. This change in routine, managing trips to the park in between Zoom meetings, often hinders workplace productivity and can cause employees to fall behind – contributing to workplace fatigue.

But it’s not just working parents that feel the crunch; when the sun starts to shine, many employees are snowed under with increased workloads, covering the work of multiple people out on annual leave. Such increased responsibility and pressure can be hard to keep on top of and can quickly become overwhelming without the necessary support in place, causing staff to suffer in silence. Take this into account with workers who have underlying health issues worsened by the heat and staff that become more flustered and irritated working in warmer conditions and businesses are looking at a serious burnout problem.

Having a holistic view of your workforce

As we head into the warmer month’s businesses would be wise to have a summer scheme in place that provides employees with tailored benefits that accommodate to their needs during the summer period. However, before benefits are deployed employers need to understand their employee umbrella.

Whilst it is important to provide benefits that that cater to the needs of working parents – for example, launching tax-free childcare schemes or connecting working parents to childcare facilities to take the burden off their shoulders; not every employee will benefit from this, some have other needs that should still be taken into account.

Whether that’s younger employees wanting to work shorter hours to spend time with friends to enjoy the warm weather or other workers valuing to opportunity to work from home in a cooler more comfortable environment from the heat, employers need a holistic overview of what benefits would help boost the morale and productivity of their people.

Taking action

Every workplace is different. What works for desked workers might not appeal to the deskless workforce. As such, businesses need to take a personal and tailored approach when it comes to launching benefits their people will value from. However, there are a few benefits that go down a treat when trying to please the masses, the first being flexible working hours.

By offering staff the chance to work within flexible summer hours or providing them with perks such as ‘half day Friday’s’, businesses are prioritising employees work-life balance, giving staff the option to log off early or start earlier so that they can focus on additional commitments like meeting friends after work or taking care of young children. Such benefits can go a long way in reducing workplace stress and do can do wonders for boosting staff productivity and wellbeing.

Additionally, by advocating for staff to log off early and enjoy the sun, employees are not only sending the message that they care for and trust for their people, but they also help to promote positive mental health by boosting serotonin levels and allowing staff to come back to work feeling rested and appreciated by their employer. Flexibility is an important element of how we now work. For some companies, it can be more difficult to enable complete flexibility due to the nature of their work, specifically frontline service roles. Nevertheless, with open-minded and creative thinking, there are opportunities for flexibility that can be easily implemented.

A little appreciation means a lot

In recent years businesses have witnessed a societal shift. Now more than ever employees want to be seen and valued as human beings outside of their job title – they want to be heard and for their needs to be met – and this starts by showing appreciation.

Showing appreciation for your employees is not about one-off ‘little luxuries’ – free ice-cream in the office won’t provide a fix if employees are exhausted and facing the summer slump.

Appreciation for your employees needs to be embedded into your company culture, and this starts by listening to what they want and providing benefits that cater to this. As the weather gets warmer and more employees look to jet away, businesses can start to promote this culture by actively listening to what their staff need to get through the summer months. In today’s challenging business landscape, thoughtful appreciation has never been more important in retaining talent and creating an engaged and productive workforce.

Nebel Corwhurst
Nebel Crowhurst
Chief People Office at Reward Gateway

As the Chief People Officer of Reward Gateway, Nebel is responsible for delivering a People Strategy that supports overall success and creates a workplace environment that enables people to thrive. Nebel's HR career has provided her with opportunities to work within a variety of organisations in various industries, throughout which, her passion for delivering great employee experiences has continued to grow.