With summer on the horizon, many workers’ thoughts are drifting to sunny days and much-needed time away from the office. This may be especially so for finance and accounting teams, who’ve recently emerged from the busiest period of the year.

For managers, the potential problems of fewer workers and lower productivity are not new. What’s changed in 2024 are your employees’ priorities — over half of Gen Z and Millennial workers would quit a job that’s impacting their work-life balance — but also the tools you have to meet these expectations.

summer culture
summer culture

Let’s explore some ways to manage the tricky task of keeping the show on the road while also creating a positive summer office culture.

1. get on top of summer vacation planning now

Even though summer is typically a quieter period for f&a teams, you still need employees on the ground. Here are some strategies for managing vacations and time off:

  • Ask employees to book time off as soon as possible so you can plan ahead.
  • Work with employees to prioritize tasks and deadlines before they go on vacation and develop a plan to ensure continuity of work.
  • Consider filling staffing gaps with summer interns or contract staff if necessary.

This ensures your business can function as usual, and remaining team members don’t find themselves suddenly overburdened with everyone else’s tasks as well as their own.

2. set summer-specific productivity goals

How do you manage productivity? The key lies in taking advantage of the downtime this quieter period brings to check items off your to-do list that tend to be overlooked during the busier times. For example:

  • researching new financial planning tools
  • re-evaluating your budgeting and forecasting processes for optimal accuracy
  • getting up to speed with regulatory changes for the coming fiscal year
  • addressing outstanding items from last year’s audit

Once you’ve made your list of projects, allocate tasks among staff members so they also have clear productivity goals to hit.

3. create a work-life balance in the summer

In finance and accounting, where long hours and overtime are the norm at certain times of year, it’s understandable that staff may want to relax a little more when they can. As an employer, offering opportunities to create a more balanced work-life dynamic shows your appreciation of employees and concern for their well-being.

Consider a more relaxed remote work policy for the summer period, such as two or even three out-of-office days a week. Another possibility is flexibility in work hours — for example, starting and finishing earlier in the day so employees can take advantage of long summer evenings. Also encourage vacationing employees to really enjoy their time off by unplugging.

4. offer professional development opportunities

Summer is all about getting a break from routine, so it’s a great time to send team members on courses to level up their professional development. This also maintains motivation and engagement in the face of warm-weather distractions.

Encourage staff to research courses, workshops and seminars that will add to their professional knowledge and growth, particularly with recognized organizations like AICPA & CIMA. Work with them to plan their schedules around this extra demand on their time, and consider offsetting some or all of the costs.

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