Top Five Suggestions/Tips for Effective Use of Downtime

thumbI know what you are thinking! “Downtime… What’s that?”  While some departments and sites experience downtime during the break season, others are busy all year round.  Eventually, we all hope to have downtime at some point throughout the year; so don’t stop reading!  After a brief survey of colleagues at different locations and within different departments below are the top five suggestions I found particularly useful:

  1. Focus on the Details:  Whether you work in maintenance or in an office, downtime is a great opportunity to get more detailed in the work that you do.  Having the extra time (particularly when it is slower and there is less traffic) to focus on improving common areas, performing detailed cleanings, preparing details of renewals or turn season, or even making sure files are  being accurately kept, will benefit you during your busier seasons.
  2. Training Opportunities: Utilizing the downtime to train, retrain, or create trainings for later use can provide great benefit for staff.  It is also a good opportunity to engage in professional development offered by your company, institution or by an organization you are a member of.  Not only will this benefit the department, but this will also provide an opportunity to reenergize you and your staff!  It will also lead to sparking discussion about ways to improve the work that your department does and new initiatives and ideas that could be implemented.
  3. Clean and Organize:  With the chaos and traffic during the busier seasons, it is easy to get behind on cleaning and organizing.  Downtime is the perfect time to reorganize and do some more thorough cleaning of your desk, the office, the maintenance shop, storage closets and other areas that can become disorganized during the hustle and bustle of day to day work.  This is a perfect opportunity to take inventory, clean and rearrange, organize or reorganize, file, and even plan ahead!
  4. Reflect and Regroup/Plan Ahead: A great team builder for your staff (no matter what department you may be a member of) during downtime is for your team to reflect on the work that has been completed to date including team and personal goals.  Reflecting on progress, benchmarking and goals will allow the team to analyze what has been accomplished and focus on what needs to be accomplished or improved. This regroup period will initiate great brainstorming and can lead to creating proactive planning for the time left within the year.
  5. Relax and Take Some Time for Yourself!:  Self-care is very important in our field as it is easy to burn out.  During the downtime, take some time to relax and do something you enjoy.  Read a new book or treat yourself to something you enjoy.  You’ve worked hard to get here so take some time and enjoy it!

Hopefully you find these suggestions useful; even if they are friendly reminders for things we can all accomplish during our slower times.  Thank you to all those who have offered their suggestions and I encourage readers to comment on ways they utilize downtime! jamie