5 Ways to Avoid a Summer Slump at Work

How the dog days actually can be a time to get ahead professionally.

Who wants to stay indoors with spreadsheets and business strategies when they could be outdoors enjoying sunny weather, sandy beaches, and delicious barbecues? In a recent Korn Ferry survey, 46% of professionals said that the quality of their work slumps in the summer. That drop in focus can be a drag—not only on an organization’s productivity, but also on an employee’s career.

“Failing to stay motivated can cause problems later in the year in terms of meeting goals, and it can negatively impact image and personal brand within the organization,” says Mark Royal, a senior client partner for Korn Ferry Advisory. Given that productivity has declined in four of the last five quarters, improving efficiency is on the minds of executives everywhere.

Korn Ferry experts offer their advice on how to stay engaged as the summer heats up, and even take advantage of some unique opportunities during the June-to-August period.

Seek out chances to stand out.

Summer can be a time to showcase fresh skills and demonstrate organizational commitment. Helping out when many colleagues are out of the office makes an impression on bosses. “It’s an opportunity to polish your brand within the organization and expand the perception people have of your capabilities,” says Royal.

Switch things up.

Simple changes—like working outside instead of inside, or at a coffee shop instead of home—support engagement and renew excitement, says Val Olson, a career and leadership coach at Korn Ferry Advance. “Slumps can happen due to a lack of variety. Variety is the spice of life,” she says.

If you can’t get out of the office, try rearranging the furniture or adding new decor to revive a tiresome space. The work might remain consistent, but varying your surroundings can be energizing and aid focus.

Figure out what energizes you.

When coworkers go on vacation, employees may find themselves taking on additional responsibilities. Experts say this is actually an opportunity to reflect on the aspects of the job that are most engaging and to pursue those interests. Even when distractions loom, finding meaning and value within core tasks supports motivation.

Connect with both coworkers and bosses.

Assisting colleagues with their workloads so they can relax promotes organizational goodwill. “Show concern for them personally by helping them out with their vacation situation,” says Royal. And fewer people in the office means new opportunities to connect with management. Ask for feedback and discuss opportunities for growth.

Make time to recharge.

Coworkers may be going on lavish multi-day summer vacations to relax, but people working full-time need to build small moments into their routine to rejuvenate. Experts say everyone should seek out realistic opportunities to restock energy. Vitality and excitement foster personal excellence and can help you avoid feeling stagnant in the summer months, Royal says. “Stay balanced and don’t neglect your own need to recharge.”


Learn more about Korn Ferry’s career development capabilities from Korn Ferry Advance