An Employer’s Guide on What to Do When Work is Slow

Published On: September 5, 2023|Categories: Employers|
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Slow periods can take a toll on both the employees and the company’s “health.” There may be a lack of mental stimulation, an increase in unproductive behaviors, stagnancy or overall lull in the work environment.

As the employer, it’s your responsibility to use this time wisely and guide your employees around how to do so as well. If you have no idea where to begin, you’ve come to the right place.

Slow periods are a natural fluctuation that occurs in the business world, leading to fewer projects and more free time. Depending on how management handles these slow periods, they can be beneficial or they can negatively impact the employees and the company overall.

Today we’re going to discuss what slow periods are, how you can continue to remain productive even when it’s slow at work and your role as the employer during these slow periods.

What is a slow period?

A slow period at work refers to a period of time (regardless of how long) where the tasks, duties and overall workload are noticeably less than usual and impact the entire workplace.

These fluctuations are common in business, whether they’re due to anticipated circumstances, such as seasonal changes, or unforeseen influences. Slow periods can occur for various reasons and can negatively impact the work environment if stagnancy sets in.

When it’s slow at work, time can feel like it’s standing still. Activities have decreased, there aren’t nearly enough projects for everyone to stay busy and it can be easy to slip into a sense of unproductiveness, which can further spiral into lazy patterns or behaviors.

As the employer, you have the ability to approach these slow periods strategically and use the additional free time to renew company morale and maintain productivity. With the right approach, these slow periods can actually contribute to a company’s overall growth and improvement.

Why slow periods aren’t bad

Of course, it all depends on how management guides employees through these periods which determines the outcome. Even if goals aren’t met or you experience a temporary lull, though, this time still isn’t a waste if you learn something that helps you, your employees or the company in the future.

While the sudden extra free time can provide a chance for you and your employees to achieve new levels of growth, it can be potentially destructive for individuals who thrive off of structure and a consistent work routine. 

We’re going to share how you can best lead the company through this time to help everyone remain productive and how to benefit from these slow periods.

What to do when work is slow

Slow periods offer the gift of time, and with that time comes an abundance of opportunities on how you can best use that time to benefit your employees, the company and even yourself. 

You can foster productivity in yourself and your employees by:

  • Catching up on tasks that were put aside
  • Practicing time-management and organizational skills with smaller tasks
  • Planning for or proactively working on future projects
  • Evaluating current systems and processes
  • Engaging in career or professional skill development
  • Optimizing strategies for upcoming busier periods

In addition to being a great time to harness additional skills and productivity efforts, slow periods also provide an opportunity for you and your employees to refresh and recharge. Many people feel guilty for taking time off work, especially if they’re in a fast-paced environment or one in which there’s a stigma against resting and putting personal needs above work.

Some of the best ways you can help refresh your employees and the workplace include:

  • Encouraging the use of PTO and vacation time
  • Performing a “spring cleaning” of one’s personal workspace
  • Establishing the habit of regularly taking screen breaks
  • Seeking honest feedback on how to improve the work environment
  • Re-sharing any company-led or -supported mental health services
  • Supporting the personalization of one’s workspace

Different slow periods will likely demand different focuses and structures, depending on where your team is and what their needs are in that season. 

Speak with an advisor today

Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP specializes in providing premier counseling services to men and women in Pennsylvania.

If you’re one of the many people struggling to maintain balance and your mental health through the ups and downs of life, consider reaching out to our team today. We provide services both in-person and virtually, in order to provide you with the most convenient access to support.

No matter where you’re at in your journey, we’re here to help. Even if you’re not ready to enroll in one of our programs, we still want to talk with you and help in any way we can.

Send us a message or call us at (800) 543-5080 to speak with an advisor today.


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