Picture this: it’s summer, and everyone else is going on their respective vacations to lie under the sun… except you. Regardless of the reason, knowing that everyone else is enjoying their time somewhere cool and cozy might cause you to be envious, lose focus at work, and even cause you to daydream of a vacation you could have gone to. This is an all-too-common experience, and many suspect it could be one of the many causes of a phenomenon known as summer slacking.
You may have experienced summer slacking in the past without knowing it. As the name suggests, it is a situation where you slack off rather than work, especially during the summer season. Other presume that summer slacking is caused by the heat of the sun, but there is no definitive proof that too much heat outside could cause you to work slowly and inefficiently.
If one thing can be proven, however, it’s that summer slacking is an actual phenomenon that can affect anyone, across all industries, but no one has ever quite really identified what causes it, or how to stop it.
Psychologists at the Manchester Business School in the U.K., however, say there is no need to stop slacking because when people are in a happier and more easy-going mood, they tend to work better. The science behind this might sound surprising, but the results seem to show a different and more positive side to slacking.
Can Summer Slacking Ever be Beneficial?
Academic experts from the Manchester Business School who study people’s mood and productivity recently reported some of the most surprising results on slacking. Apparently, the easygoing summer temperatures make people more productive, and summer slacking is but an outlet that can keep workers happy. What do you get when you have happy workers and good weather? More productive workers!
This science connecting productivity with slacking further shows that happiness and satisfaction at work have its effects on stress. As long as workers are given an easygoing environment to work in, their performance will register positive results starting with increased productivity.
The benefits of happiness don’t stop there. For as long as this emotion overpowers all other emotions towards work, you will remain more productive and more successful in your endeavours. This somehow explains why having the time and leeway to leave a constantly busy environment whenever you feel like it makes the heavy tasks ahead seem so much lighter. When you have the opportunity to rest or re-energize, you are giving your creativity and thinking the time to recharge, as well.
This further explains why stepping away from stressful situations or problems for awhile makes it easier for you to tackle the issue later. When you remove yourself from the stressful situation, it becomes easier for you to come up with better answers. This further explains why people tend to come up with better ideas when they are not stressed out.
The study’s conclusion is perhaps something we can all agree with: if the office is more relaxed than usual, don’t disrupt the vibe, because relaxed environments are often the best environments to work in.
The Risks of Slacking
Like most things, too much of something can be dangerous. Allowing slacking to continue but receiving little to no results at the end of a work period can be a sign that your team is experiencing a burnout. In some instances, a fully relaxed mood can be a problem, rather than a source of motivation.
For instance, constantly thinking about a vacation you had to forego will not help you with your work, it will only make you more frustrated. This frustration can manifest in the form of stress, various ranges of bad moods, a tired body, and even, muscular discomforts. Although warmer months are believed to be ideal for creative work, your productivity may suffer due to a vacation you had to let go of.
If you can’t avoid dealing with the slacking feeling, procrastination, and general lazy mood during the summer months, it might be ideal to utilize effective productivity-enhancing equipment at work, like sit-and-stand desks, to help you through your workday.
Assuming you went ahead with your vacation, you may still be experiencing moods of laziness at work because of re-entry shock– a phenomenon defined by the individual’s inability to immediately cope with work because their mind and body are still stuck in vacation mode. If this happens to you, strive to get back into work mode, otherwise, your body will only sink deeper into an unproductivity dive.