It can be tempting, back from a holiday, to decide that you’ve had enough of the rat race and consider giving it all up. Or you may be throwing yourself into projects with enthusiasm, but find others in your team are feeling lacklustre after holidays and the excitement of the Olympics. As Iain Bundred, head of corporate and public affairs at agency OgilvyPR, says “It’s fair to say it will be a tough challenge to stay motivated as we look ahead to a gloomy autumn of double-dip recession with not a gold medal winner in sight.”
Bundred’s solution is to think bigger and better. “That means setting the bar with a great summer and telling yourself you can have an even greater end to the year. We must all embrace the spirit of the Games, which has seen the world bowled over by London. By thinking bigger and delivering influence at scale, we can make sure we keep London at the centre of the world’s attention.”
Forster Communications is keen to keep staff happy and has proved its commitment to employee wellbeing by becoming the first communications agency to be awarded Excellence status against the London Workplace Wellbeing Charter. Joanna Foy, head of HR and sustainability, explains how the agency keeps staff keen during the summer: “All staff members can collect wellbeing stamps for a range of activities including social, cultural, nutritional and physical. These can then be exchanged for incentive prizes. This summer employees have organised volleyball matches at the pop-up Olympic near our offices, a lunch club and trips to South Bank Centre’s aMazeme.”
Foy emphasises the importance of having a proper lunch break: “We’ve found that encouraging employees to go out at lunch not only makes them feel better, but also leads to a more productive atmosphere in the afternoon. We also allow staff to leave at 3pm on a Friday during August if it doesn’t impact on client work. The early start to the weekend seems to be doing the trick to keep morale high.”
Five tips to beat the post-summer blues
Victoria Sisson, executive director at PR agency FWD, explains how her agency gears itself up for the autumn.
1. Don’t demand that staff immediately regain focus. That high level of energy will be needed in September, when clients return in force and start the autumn marketing push that will last through to December.
2. Take time for long-term planning. Look through accounts and think about what you want to achieve for the rest of the year, both personally and on behalf of clients. Discuss this as a team at team meetings, and come up with ideas how to work differently in the autumn season.
3. Spend time together out of the office – our entire team is spending a weekend away together. The location is secret even to those attending (only I know), but we’re heading for Europe and this annual event gives the team something to look forward to that is both fun and work-focused.
4. Generate the feel-good factor – we will be giving over our office to a charity day for inner-city youngsters next Thursday. Mentoring is a great way to remind the team of their own PR skills and the expertise that they and our clients take for granted.
5. Focus on clients in a way that makes clients feel good. Ours is a female industry, so we take our clients for a champagne tea. It’s a chance for them to network with each other, and we can also reconnect with them, as a soft way back into talking PR after their own holidays.
Helen Beckett, founder of agency Illuminate Communications:
"We are motivating ourselves by getting out and about as much as we can, meeting old and new clients around the country. Last week we were in Manchester and this week one of us will be in Cardiff. In our experience, face and phone beats email when it comes to bringing new clients on board and building media relationships because people buy people."
Simon Turton, owner of agency Opera PR:
“To help prevent the feeling of gloom on the first day back, why not go back to work on a Tuesday or line-up a lunch meeting with a journalist? Ease yourself back in my all means, but, as I say, if you dread going back to work then perhaps you need to review what you're doing and while you're away plan to move jobs or change your life.”
Ben Smith, MD. PRmoment.com
My cure to the post holiday blues? Book another holiday. And make sure you don't go anywhere near HR in you first week back!
Written by Daney Parker