Happy in the heat – How SMEs can work smart this summer

Here are some tips for SMEs to make the most of the rest of the summer.

There is a propensity in Britain – especially within built up areas such as London – to hit the panic button when any kind of moderately exciting weather hits us. From a dusting of snow to a mid 70s heatwave, it doesn’t take much for people to feel affected by the weather, especially in regards to their working life.

However by utilising the technologies accessible for modern businesses – alongside a modicum of common sense – businesses can not only endure a heatwave, but thrive on it. Here are five top tips to ensure that your company runs smoothly and your staff are kept safe, motivated and happy this summer.

Look to the clouds, even if there isn’t any

Cloud technology can be incredibly useful during those hot days in the office, allowing staff real flexibility in how they work. One example of this would be if a team is split owing to the weather conditions – for example if certain members of staff are faced with transport issues and can’t make it into the office.

By using cloud storage systems, these members of staff can still work on documents and projects from their remote location, and have this synced up to centrally-located colleagues, without the need for endless version one, version two, version three email chains.

Smart apps = happier staff

In a recent survey that we carried out in conjunction with YouGov, 26% of those we asked said that manual admin tasks negatively impacted both productivity and moral, and almost half said that using outdated technology left them frustrated, angry or anxious.

>See also: Workplace injuries you might not have considered

Now imagine those statistics about admin jobs and outdated tech took place during a heatwave. When the temperature literally rises, work needs to be streamlined, allowing people to make the most of their time and not get bogged down unnecessarily in administration. Look to automating expenses, invoices and the like to keep people focused and happy during the summer months.

Flexible hours for busy people

Summer is often seen as a moment to spend time with family and friends, and being stuck in the office and not getting home until the kids are in bed is an all-too familiar feeling to many in the workplace.

By implementing the kinds of flexible infrastructure, small businesses can give their employees the opportunity to mix up their hours. Does somebody want get home a little early to see their children? Give them the tools to catch up in the evening. It’s surprising how far a gesture like this will go for boosting moral within your organisation.

Duty of Care takes on further importance

Although it can sometimes seem a bit of an abstract prospect, especially to white-collar positions, the hotter summer months raise new issues for a company’s duty of care and must be dealt with. Do you usually have your employees suited and booted? Relax the dress code, and allow no ties, or short sleeve shirts. People work far better when they are comfortable.

>Related: Workplace conflict – are you ready to mediate?

Does your office have cold drinks in vending machines? A gesture sure to be appreciated would be to supply bottled water and juices for employees to help themselves to. Even allowing people to work remotely if they have an arduous commute to keeping people comfortable, these kinds of gestures will not only keep your employees safe, but also boost productivity.

Summer is enjoyable

A crucial factor that many businesses neglect is that people like summer. They like the weather, the longer evenings, the BBQs and the holidays. So constraining people to the same 9 to 5, doing administrative jobs and wearing a suit is bound to have a negative impact on your business.

Installing a positive business culture is all the rage at the minute, and great weather gives you the tools to easily promote this. Take company updates outside for a chance to soak up the sun for ten minutes, or buy a round of ice creams in middle of the afternoon. From automated admin software to a 99 with a flake – the cost will be far outweighed by a positive workforce who looks forward to their job during the summer.

The changes outlined above all have one thing in common: flexibility. The flexibility to do admin tasks in a smaller timeframe, to work in different locations, even to dress more comfortably.

It’s obvious that this small selection of tips is relatively straightforward, but it is surprising how often basic changes and implementations are ignored or forgotten about. By giving your employees this level of freedom, through what are very often small changes, the summer months can be a time for your company’s culture and morale to hit a new high.

Further reading: Using social recruiting in an employees’ market

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.

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