Goodbye Summer, Hello Work: 10 Tips to Get Your Design Team Back on the Work Grind

Haley Grant
September 11 | 6 min read
10 Tips to Get Your Design Team Back on the Work Grind

Summer’s over and that means it’s time to get back to work. And even though your design team is back, how do you know that they’re really back?

There’s no better way to bring creative momentum to a screeching halt than when your designers’ heads are still somewhere on a beach sipping pina coladas. Let’s face it, you can take your designers out of the summer, but it may take an extra push to take the summer out of your designers.

Tips to get your team back into work mode

It’s important to ensure that your design team is focused, engaged and ready to get their creative juices flowing after vacation. After all, team engagement is critical to success in the workplace. In fact, Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report discovered that engaged teams boast positive results:

  • 17% overall higher productivity
  • 10% higher customer satisfaction
  • 20% higher sales
  • 21% higher profitability
  • 41% reduction in absenteeism

You can’t have optimal team engagement when even one of your designers is still in the vacation state of mind. Check out these tips to get your design team engaged, motivated, and productive after summertime:

1. Back off

In 2015, productivity expert Robby Slaughter said, “The best way to encourage productivity is to encourage individuals to take ownership over how they manage their own time and resources.” Rather than micromanaging your team, take a step back and allow them to make their own decisions and be accountable for their work.

By giving your design team ownership, you are telling them that you trust them and their expertise to get the job done. Knowing this will boost your designers’ self-esteem thereby enhancing their overall productivity.

2. Digitize project management

And speaking of taking a step back, project management software is a great way to encourage effective work management without hovering over your designers’ shoulders. Employ a project management software among your design team to keep important deadlines in check and to enhance collaboration.

Project management software is a great solution to effectively manage your team and enhance productivity while encouraging ownership and collaboration.

3. Communicate

Communication is key in the design industry — an industry structured around collaboration and deadlines. From the moment your team returns from summer, re-establish effective communication. Communication will help your team avoid confusion and fully understand individual roles in a given project.

Miscommunication is a very common cause of failure in business which is why effective communication is key to improving productivity and enhancing team satisfaction.

4. Team building exercises

While this may resurface memories of Freshman year orientation in college, team building exercises can really do wonders to get your team back to collaborating. These exercises will help establish camaraderie among your design team. Camaraderie is essential for your team to trust and respect each other.

Conduct some team building exercises that drive your designers to collaborate and rely on each other’s different strengths. After all, these are the things that your team will be doing every day to successfully work together.

5. Encourage self-care

When your team is feeling good, they produce better results. One study showed that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. And we all know the toll that stress and being overwhelmed can take on one’s state of mind. Encourage your team to avoid burnout through self-care.

Emphasize the importance of a work-life balance for your design team, as well as getting a good night’s sleep. Get creative by starting Friday mornings asking each team member what their plans are for the weekend. Remember that a happy team yields a happy work culture and that means enhanced productivity.

6. Social media is not the enemy

It is common practice to ban cellphones in the workplace to keep your team focused and off social media. But what if we told you that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are not the demise of employee productivity? According to an Evolv study, social media “power users” are better multi-taskers and are overall more productive and happier at work.

When managers crack down on social media restrictions, they are telling their team that they don’t trust them and that they need to be micromanaged. Consider social media time monitoring if you must, but for the sake of productivity, consider loosening up on your social media restrictions.

7. Understand strengths and weaknesses

When hiring a new employee, it’s critical that a company find the right fit for the job at hand. But this search doesn’t end once the hiring process is over. Each design project calls for different roles and responsibilities, which is why it is essential to the project’s success that you understand and utilize each of your designers’ strengths and weaknesses.

Knowing your team members’ skill sets will allow you to know who to appoint to which tasks to optimize productivity. Your team members are your assets, so learn which asset you need for each project and who has the expertise and talents to perform best.

8. Incentives

Tangible rewards have a special way of speaking to employees. Not only do people love and seek praise for their hard work, but incentives and perks actually boost employee motivation. In fact, a Glassdoor survey revealed that four out of five employees would prefer perks over a pay raise.

Whether it be a discounted gym membership, one day per week to work from home, or even just public recognition for a job well done, your team — and your company — will reap the benefits of an incentive program.

9. Feedback is a team's friend

Constructive feedback is just as important — if not more — as praise and recognition in the workplace. The feedback process is essential in the design industry which is why your team must know how to give and receive feedback in a positive manner. After all, you can’t expect your team to improve and work efficiently if they do not know where there is room for improvement.

Conduct regular performance reviews to keep the line of communication open and transparent. Be sure to offer your assistance and guidance when offering feedback. If one of your team members appears to be struggling, ask what you can do to help.

10. Boost team morale

At the end of the day, the key to boosting productivity and efficiency is ensuring happy and engaged employees. Foster a positive work environment and actively boost team morale to achieve this happy work culture. Give your team the guidance they need, without micromanaging them and establish a relationship based on trust and transparent communication.

Not only will a great work environment help improve overall business success, but it will give your design team something to look forward to when coming off of summer.  Don’t have a design team or have one that’s overwhelmed? Partnering with a design company like Superside might be the key to building your team’s post-summer momentum.

Written by
Haley Grant
Haley Grant is an American writer based in Madrid, Spain. A world traveler, Haley is also a huge fan of “Sex and the City,” spin classes and chugging iced coffee.

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