Maximise your summer working time

By Danielle Wright

Stuck in the office over summer? Danielle Wright finds ways to cope
Tip one: Take your place in the sun. Photo / iStock
Tip one: Take your place in the sun. Photo / iStock

As summer kicks into gear, spare a thought for the many people whose busiest work season is while most people are on holiday. One such worker, Carl Fischer - environmental officer at the Waitomo Group - expects to be busier than ever over the summer months with up to 2000 visitors a day. His job is to maintain the glowworms and the cave environments of the Waitomo Glowworm, Ruakuri and Aranui caves.

"It's an exciting time of year, because we get more glowworms and more visitors to share them with!" says Fischer, who is working most days through the summer with remote access to monitor data on the days he's not at work.

"Tourism never sleeps, but this is the business that we're in and we're happy to be here."

Sometimes, though, he does look up from his work to glance at his social media accounts and sees his friends having fun, rather than working over the summer.

"I just remind myself that social media is a 'best of' compilation and that I get the same leave entitlement as everyone else," says Fischer.

If you're unconvinced and still think there's something wrong about working on a beautiful sunny day, don't despair, there are plenty of ways to cope. Here are some tips:

Take your place in the sun

Take your work into the great outdoors by sending files to a laptop or iPad and having an open-air office for the afternoon. The office deck, or a nearby park, might provide just the incentive to finish writing up that big proposal.

Leave early

Some offices operate "summer hours", enabling workers to leave earlier to make the most of the longer evenings For sport or time with families. Just an extra hour or two in the day can make you feel like you're having a summer holiday, even when you're not.

Build rapport

Plan all those coffee meetings or lunches you've been putting off because you're too busy. With the emails coming in less frequently over summer, get out of the office and meet other workmates or clients still working.

Transform your workspace

While you've got the office to yourself, or the emails slowing down, take on the task of de-cluttering your workspace.

Beat the summertime blues

Some people feel "Summertime SAD", a seasonal affective disorder that a small percentage of people get in reverse of the usual winter blues. Plan ahead if you know you're vulnerable and schedule in more of the things that you enjoy or seek medical help.

School's in

Consider taking professional development courses or summer school classes while work is slowing down. It will set you on the right path and you won't be squeezing it in when you're in the middle of busy work deadlines later in the year. Even if you don't leave the office and take a formal class, consider spending time with IT and finally having the patience to learn how to use that new software, or archiving last year's files.

School's out

Working parents may feel they're missing out on spending time with their children over the long summer school holidays, but remember it's all about spending quality time with your children. Try to plan special outings on the weekends and after hours. A couple of three-day weekends could be spent camping to make you feel you've had a summer holiday together.

Summer treats

Instead of a coffee break or making a round of tea for those working in the office with you, bring in a box of ice-creams for co-workers on a hot day.

Maximise lunch breaks

Employers are human, too, and usually understand it's hard to be at your desk over summer. See if you can start earlier in the day to get an extra half-hour at lunch so you can head to the local swimming pool to cool down.

Set goals

Use the time to set goals and plan your work year ahead without the distractions of a full office.

Easing back into work

If you've been lucky enough to have some time off, easing back into work after a summer break can be hard. Focus on what you love about your job and try to do more of those tasks to get you back into the swing of it.

As Fischer says: "Summer doesn't stop just because you're at work!" So, make the most of everyone's sunnier disposition and the longer days to see summer as a bonus to your normal working day, rather than a hindrance.

- NZ Herald

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