With the end of Labor Day weekend in the US and Canada, many of us in the Northern Hemisphere are saying good-bye to the lazy days of summer and hello to a new school year. If you have kids (or remember being one), you know this can be a stressful time of year because of a huge amount of change. Here are four ways the end of summer and beginning of a new school year can impact your workplace:
1. Commute Headaches
The light traffic of summer will disappear, and you and your staff will have to cope with full roads and trains again. Be prepared for some unexpected lateness at first, and remind everyone to leave a bit of extra time in the morning so that they can get to work on time. If you can, turn a blind eye to the first day or two of lateness, but make sure that it doesn’t become a habit for anyone on your team.
2. New Family Stresses
New teachers, new schedules, and new everything can throw families for a bit of a loop at the beginning of a new school year. To make your employees feel cared-for, pay attention to the changes that their families are going through, and ask how they’re going. You can be a little bit tolerant of distraction in the first week or two of their new schedule, knowing that things will eventually calm down and go back to business as usual.
3. Sales Uptick
Now that your potential clients and customers are back from their last end-of-summer vacations, you may (hopefully) notice an uptick in your sales – especially if you’re a B2B business. This will certainly energize your sales team & increase excitement on your sales floor. Just make sure that your systems and processes are ready for the uptick, and you’ll be able to take advantage of it.
4. USA Two-Month Run
In the United States, heading back to school signals a fast two-and-a-half month run until the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays. Although some businesses give occasional holidays in this period, you’ll find that the lack of school breaks and the new school year means that fewer of your employees will be taking time off. This 10-week time can be a fantastic time to do the following:
- Build new processes. With more of your staff in the office at the same time, you can easily come together and build new and more effective processes. Get people together and analyze what’s working and what’s not, and figure out ways to fix it.
- Hold team building events. Without many vacations scheduled, you’ll have a much easier time finding a time when everyone is in the office in order to have a team building event. And because it’s the off-season (i.e., not holidays or summer), you might be able to book a venue at a much lower rate than you’d expect!
- Reorganize. It’s tough to build new teams when a lot of vacations are scheduled, so use this time to reorganize and solidify new team structures (although you probably want to wait until mid-September so that new family stresses have largely passed). When teams have two months to continuously work together, they’ll gel much more easily.
- Set (and achieve) aggressive goals. When you’re at full staff, you’ll be able to draw together to try to reach some aggressive goals. You’ll find this especially true for sales, since your prospects will also be in the office!
- Prepare for the holidays. If you have a seasonal business that makes most of its money in Q4, now is the time to go heads-down and make sure everyone (and everything) is ready for the holidays. If you have the kind of business that dies off in Q4, now is the time to beat your revenue goals so that you can finish out the year strong despite the dead time. Whichever one you have, the September through mid-November time can be make-or-break for your business.
It’s time to catch the school bus! Make sure that you understand the impact back-to-school will have on your employees, and be prepared to take maximum advantage of it.