Sweet summertime. The sun is out, the pools are open, and vacations are on the brain. But for the HVAC industry, this can be tricky. Summer is the busy season for HVAC technicians because with heat comes the need for air conditioning. However, when techs are putting in 60 or 70 hour work weeks, they’re more likely to experience burnout or exhaustion.

Recently, my boss, editor-in-chief of The NEWS, Kyle Gargaro, approached my cubicle. He asked me why I hadn’t posted a vacation on our inter-office calendar. I told him I hadn’t planned one and didn’t plan on doing so because I had a lot of work due in the next couple months. It was then he told me that I should take the time and plan one, even if it means having a “stay-cation,” staying home and unplugging. As he walked away, I thought to myself how lucky I am to have a boss who encourages me to take time off. I can honestly say I have never had a superior encourage me to take time off from work. But you know what? It made me appreciate where I work that much more.

Don’t you want your employees to feel that way? Of course you do. Far too often, managers and superiors forget about the importance of having their employees step away from the job. When your employees feel that they have to work, work, work, with no end in sight, how is that really benefiting your company? What happens when they throw up their arms and walk out? Is that really the best approach? No.

In a recent article published in The NEWS, Wade Hamstra, vice president, Hamstra Heating & Cooling Inc. in Tucson, Arizona, said, “We know from experience, if we push our staff to work 55- to 70-plus hours every week for 16 weeks straight, call-outs, injuries, callbacks, and turnover go up while performance goes down. I believe there is a balance point somewhere, and it actually may make more sense from a big-picture standpoint to force field staff members to take a long weekend or two during the summer to keep them fresh.”  

Employees of Alvin, Texas-based Clear the Air are allowed to take limited vacations during the summer, Jason Stom, CEO of the company told The NEWS. “We do allow our employees to take limited vacation time during the peak season. April through August is very busy, and while we want to make sure we are able to handle all labor demands, we also understand that employees experience burnout during this time. We are a family-owned business, and we encourage employees to maintain a healthy work/life balance,” Stom continued. “Allowing employees to take time off during the busy season allows us to make sure employees are able to spend time with their families, are well rested, and enjoy working for our company. Ultimately, we have happier, more loyal employees with this policy.”

During the summer months, we at The NEWS have quite a few things going on, such as the Dealer Design Awards and the Top 40 Under 40. While we are very busy, it is still important for us to pump the brakes, take a step back, and unwind for a few days. You can only run so long before it’s time to take a breather. I know I am always refreshed and recharged after a few days off of work, and it is always nice to give your eyes a break from staring at a computer screen for hours on end.

Technicians spend extra long days in the field during the summertime, and it’s important for this to be praised and acknowledged. A pat on the back is great; overtime is wonderful, but there’s nothing like hearing the words, “Take a break — you deserve it.”   

Publication date: 7/31/2017

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