With the Fourth of July now a very recent memory, summer is officially in full swing. For those of us who are not in the HVAC service industry, that means extended vacations, backyard barbecues, family picnics, pool parties, beach visits, and long weekends up north (or wherever it is you non-Michiganders go to escape).
But, while many of your customers are making the most of the warm weather, you’re probably working the hardest you will work all year. For you and your employees, summer means extra-long days on the job and evenings/weekends on call as you diligently work to make sure your customers are safe and comfortable in the often extreme summer climate.
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 before Labor Day.
The most important thing you can do is talk to your employees. Ask them how they’re handling their increased workloads during your staff meetings and/or ask them individually. If they’re overwhelmed, find a way to help them. Make sure they know they can come to you with any questions or concerns they may have. Communicating regularly 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 it’s the busy season, employees still need some time to relax. If possible, give your employees the option to work extra hours a few days one week in exchange for an additional day off. This probably can’t be done all the time, especially since your employees are likely working extra hours already, but it can be a good way to give your employees a break now and then without losing the man hours.
THE LITTLE THINGS
There are also a number of small, relatively inexpensive things you can do to help your employees during peak season. If you require uniforms, you could provide a laundering service so your employees won’t have to worry whether they have a clean shirt to wear tomorrow after a 14-hour workday today. On particularly busy days, provide lunch or dinner for your employees, or host a family-friendly barbecue.
RECOGNIZE THEIR HARD WORK
Finally, keep morale up by letting employees know regularly how much you appreciate them. For the price of ink and paper, you can present certificates to techs who are doing a particularly good job. Small gift cards — enough for a Frappuccino at Starbucks or a quick meal at Wendy’s — are also a great way to reward employees who are working hard. You could also give your hardest-working employees tickets to sporting events, amusement parks, movie theaters, or concerts. And, in addition to awarding them yourself, you could allow staff to recognize their peers’ outstanding work. Presenting these rewards with great ceremony (perhaps at a catered lunch?) lets your employees know how much you appreciate their hard work and inevitable sacrifices during peak season.
Remember, these suggestions don’t just apply to employees; you need to make sure you’re striking a good work-life balance, too. The work must get done, this is true — but not at the expense of your or your employees’ wellness and happiness.
Publication date: 7/6/2015