Jen Anesi-Brombach: The dog days of summer
The Fourth of July has come and gone, and we’re barreling full speed toward the dog days of summer — that time of year when the heat just won’t relent and the days seem to last forever.
For those of us who are not in the service industry, this time of year can mean extended vacations, backyard barbecues, family picnics, pool parties, beach visits, and long weekends “up north” (that’s where we Michiganders go to escape). But for plumbers and others in the service industry — especially those of you who offer A/C services — you’re working just as hard as ever, if not harder.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep up morale and help your employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. And, while that’s much easier said than done, there are a few things you can start doing right now to help make sure your employees don’t burn out (no pun intended) before Labor Day.
The most important thing you can do is keep the communication lines open. Ask your employees about their workloads – are they overwhelmed? If so, how can you help them? Bring it up in every meeting and make sure they feel like they can talk to you. Communicating frequently with your employees and keeping an open-door policy will help make sure their minor concerns don’t eventually turn into major problems.
Even though plumbing issues don’t care what time of year it is, employees do, and they need some time to relax. Is it possible to give your employees the option to work extra hours a few days a week in order to have a day off in the future? Sometimes, a long weekend at the cabin, up north, or just chilling out at home can be enough to recharge an employee — and this way, you won’t even lose the man hours.
Finally, keep your employees’ morale high by showing them just how much you appreciate them. This could be as simple as offering a laundering service for uniforms during the hot summer season, or buying lunch here and there. And for the price of printer ink and paper, you can present certificates to techs who are doing a particularly good job.
Additionally, gift cards for small amounts of money — perhaps enough for an ice cream or a fast food meal on the go — help you show appreciation for the employees who are working hard. Sports events, amusement parks, movie theaters, or concerts also present opportunities for you to reward your employees.
Better yet, if there is a way to have your employees show appreciation for each other, perhaps by allowing them to nominate each other for recognition or awards, you can help create cohesion. Bonus points if you can present these rewards with great pomp and circumstance in order to let your employees know exactly how much you appreciate their hard work during the hottest time of year.
Take care of yourself
If you’re like me, you have trouble unplugging and relaxing. Perhaps it’s because there’s nobody else who can do your work, or, more likely, because you think nobody else can do your work. Just keep in mind that in order for you to be a good leader, you need to be at your best, which means making sure you’re striking a good work-life balance, too. The work must get done, this is true — and leaky pipes certainly won’t wait for anybody — but keep your and your employees’ wellbeing in mind this summer.