9 Tips to Stay Productive During A Slow SeasonDec 28, 2022
While being productive and completing tasks quickly is something that many organizations value, there may be days when tasks are completed early, clients have fewer service requests, and employees have extra free time. The challenge for business owners during this period is to keep themselves and their employees busy until things pick up again.
According to a Captive Office Pulse study, during slow seasons, workplace productivity can drop by up to 20%, and projects can take up to 13% longer to complete. However, slower work days can still be beneficial because they allow you to keep your work volume at a more sustainable level and complete tasks that you might not be able to complete on a regular day.
Read on to discover tips on how to keep a high productivity during slow seasons.
Why do businesses face slow seasons?
Even if a company is not in the seasonal business, it will experience slow periods. The cause of a slowdown is often apparent, such as a post-holiday slump, seasonal breaks, high or low seasons, industry trends, etc. However, there are times when business slows unexpectedly, not due to a holiday or a change in the weather.
These unexpected changes are dangerous because determining the source can be difficult, making it harder to figure out how to fix a problem. However, slow seasons shouldn’t be viewed from a negative perspective, as they may hold an opportunity to focus on other business aspects.
Here are some reasons why you should try to stay as productive as possible during the slow season:
You'll pick up new skills, gain new knowledge, or discover new business opportunities.
You will achieve your personal and professional objectives much faster.
You'll learn more about organizational perspective, and have more time to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the company.
You’ll have more chances to get to know your employees, colleagues, clients, and business network.
You'll feel much healthier and more energized knowing that you'll be recharged for when operations pick up.
Tips to Stay Productive During A Slow Season
Despite the fact that it invariably spans several months a year, the slow season can present some valuable opportunities, some of them being:
1. Tie up loose ends.
Since high seasons require engaging with clients round-the-clock and fulfilling work orders, the slow season is the time to complete paperwork, do follow-ups, check invoices, and undertake a thorough audit. Such tasks can provide insights from the previous peak season, indicating the profitability and effectiveness of the company’s offerings.
2. Reflect and plan.
Reflect on the year that has passed and make plans for next year. Gather your employees for a goals meeting to openly discuss the insights gathered from the previous step and set new, SMART goals.
Let your team know what is coming up during this meeting!
Due to short-sighted decisions, quick fixes, and short-term expediencies, the slow season is a good time to eliminate past mistakes and adopt success stories as the best practice paradigm. It is also an excellent opportunity to undertake SWOT analysis for new investments and restructure business processes.
4. Drive change.
Since change often breeds confusion and leads to client dissatisfaction, it is advised to roll it in during the slow season. Such changes can include but are not necessarily limited to:
Upgrading to a new system
Improving workflow efficiency
Deploying a new cloud server
Installing a new CRM
5. Learn more about your clients.
The slow season is a good time to search for new clients and engage with current ones, better to understand their needs, requirements, and nuances. To do so:
Send client satisfaction surveys to gain feedback that helps you refine your value proposition.
Review client complaints to solve inefficiencies and better target areas for improvement.
Such insights are significant for repackaging product offerings and indulging in deep customizations.
6. Experiment with new marketing channels.
Use the slow season to discover a more engaging marketing strategy, prepare content, work on the website, update the SEO, and experiment with new technology.
Talented individuals are in high demand and difficult to find. However, it is possible to find and bring on new talent during the slow season, with new hires taking their time to settle into their roles.
Employee training, skill development, and system proficiency can also be priorities at this time.
A thorough performance appraisal could be conducted throughout this season too. Give your employees both individual and team feedback, emphasizing areas for operational improvement and gaining suggestions on how to overcome obstacles.
Accordingly, create a training program that widens your employees’ career horizons and develops their skills and knowledge across multiple areas of your business.
8. Reward the peak season’s hard work.
To work at their best, employees need to feel appreciated. Rewarding the high season’s hard work is one of the ways to express your gratitude and raise team spirit.
You can also organize enjoyable team-building activities, such as group dinners, quizzes, games, and sports.
All of the aforementioned not only show recognition but also proactively lower employee turnover and improve your company’s quality of service.
9. Recharge, Relax, Recover.
Employees should be rewarded with meaningful time off during the slow season so that they can return refreshed. Hence, determine who will be taking a vacation in advance and create a work-back plan based on that information.
Make sure that the team is given reasonable, specific timelines. Additionally, top management can use the slow season to attend conferences and workshops themselves.
Accordingly, employees benefit from better work-life balance, which increases their commitment and productivity.