As a manager, you want your employees to be as productive as possible 100% of the time. That’s what you’re paying them for, and that’s where your profits come from. So, you do everything possible to keep staff members happy. You paint your office in bright colors, and you delegate tasks to ensure everyone has a clear goal to work towards. And, that works pretty well during mornings. After that initial morning meeting, everyone gets their heads down, and you can enjoy the satisfying sound of clattering keyboards.
But, a look back in the office from around 2 pm couldn’t be more different. Far from the sound of keyboards, you can only hear the distant snoring of Bob asleep at this desk. Those pristine staff members will have loosened their ties and messed up their hair. In short; they’ll look like exhausted messes. There certainly won’t be any work going on.
This is the afternoon slump we all know and dread. While the above may be an exaggeration, it isn’t as far from the truth as you might hope. Despite your best efforts, mid-afternoon in the office is a time of next to no productivity. And, that’s terrible news in a business sense. You can’t very well put off clients because you were all ‘a bit tired in the afternoon’. So, it’s past time you got to the bottom of this to see your team productive for the whole day through.
To do that, it’s worth noting that the ‘afternoon slump’ has some scientific reasons behind it. As you can see here, it isn’t merely a case of your team being lazy. There are legitimate reasons many of us feel so lacking in energy at this time of day. But, as with most things, there are steps you can take to stop this dip from happening. All you need to do is address the following reasons behind it.
Your team don’t get enough breaks
First, consider breaks. This can be a tricky as break allocation is mostly left to your discretion. It may be that you apply as many breaks as you need to keep working through the day. But, we’re all different. Your break allowance may not be enough for the members of your team. If a lot of them slump during the afternoon, that might be why. Not getting enough breaks can lead to a loss of productivity in a few different ways. For one, this could see your team losing all ability to focus. When you try to concentrate on anything for hours on end, it’s inevitable that concentration won’t be as good as it could. Sitting in the same place can also lead to stiffness and lethargy. That impacts the ability to work as well. The good news is, this is an incredibly simple issue to fix. All you need to do is increase your break allowance to meet the needs of your team. Encourage them to stand and stretch at least once an hour to keep energy levels up. Make sure, too, that they take a proper break away from their desks at least every 4 hours. That could be something as simple as making a cup of tea. It doesn’t matter, as long as they step away and refresh their brains.
You stock the wrong things in the break room
Stocking snacks and treats in the break room is a step beyond your duties. Still, it’s something many of us do. It’s one of those simple comforts which make your employees happy, and it can boost morale no end. The trouble is, these snacks could also be behind the mid-afternoon slump. That’s right; your efforts to be the best manager possible have come back to shoot you in the foot. The chances are that you stock up on easy treats like sugary biscuits or cakes each day. These high-sugar and high-carb snacks may even boost your team to work harder after eating. A few hours later, though, and sugar crash will ensure that work comes to an abrupt halt. It’s no wonder, then, that your workload as a team is never as good in the afternoon. To tackle this, replace those sugary snacks with something which releases long-lasting energy. It may not be the most popular choice, but fruits and nuts are fantastic for this.
The sun’s at ‘that’ place in the sky
We all know this one. If you work in a glass-fronted office, the position of the sun alone could be behind your issues here. When the sun is in our eyeline, it can both send us to sleep and make it impossible to keep working. It’s no wonder things go a little downhill come two or three in the afternoon, then. Of course, you can’t move your whole office around each time the sun is in the wrong place. Instead, consider a practical option like sun shades which could keep the worst at bay. As you can see if you read more here, sun shades are fantastic for both design and sustainability. They also have the unexpected benefit of blocking the mid-afternoon sun. This ensures that problem at least doesn’t stop anyone from working when they should.
You’re not present enough during the day
It’s also possible that this issue is as simple as your not being present enough during the day. If you’re anything like most managers, you host a morning meeting and then head to your office to get on with your work. But, while a morning meeting can set staff off on the right footing, that incentive may start to flag come afternoon. To make sure that doesn’t happen, make your presence known through the day. Why not work in with the rest of your team to keep them on the right track? Failing that, you could always pop out on occasion and give everyone a chance to ask any questions. Bear in mind, though that isn’t about ‘checking up’ on people. It’s merely about helping them to keep their focus.