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Every business has busy spells and slow spells. Your workers might think about downtime as an opportunity to unwind and chat with colleagues. However, for your company, this can be very exasperating as you want to boost productivity.

So, how do you manage downtime?

One way could be to ask your employees to do other tasks during those slow times. But, if these tasks aren’t a part of their primary role, you might experience opposition and resistance.

In this article, you’ll find 7 potent ways to maximize downtime in the workplace so that your employee productivity is not stalled during slow times.

1. Convey the Downtime Policy to Your Staff

You must communicate the downtime policy to all your workers when they’re undergoing new employee orientation. And, reinforce the protocol during every slow period.

Most of the time, the downtime in a company is because of maintenance issues or technical faults in equipment or natural disasters. So, it’s critical to have a comprehensive downtime protocol that includes processes and practices that your employees must undertake to maintain efficiency.

Conduct regular maintenance checks to ensure that all your systems are working properly. Hire on-call support staff and technicians to solve technical issues.

2. Make a list of Things to Do During Downtime

To maximize downtime, create a list of things that your employees can do during downtime and paste it at a place that is visible to all the staff.

Make sure that any groundwork to accomplish these tasks is done ahead of time so the task can be started the instant your business slows down. Let your staff know how important all these tasks are for your business during the orientation of new employees. Set the tone immediately a worker joins your company so that they are more likely to take the to-do list seriously.

A great strategy to develop an awareness of downtime chores is to offer incentives and recompenses for workers who accomplish a specific number of tasks. This inspires the workforce to make the best use of its time, and also makes it possible to identify outstanding workers.

3. Brainstorm and Think of Strategies to Attract Customers

If you own a store, your downtime might also include periods of low foot traffic to your business. So, use the quiet times to identify gaps in your business operations, especially marketing and promotions, and brainstorm how to attract more customers.

Think of organizing special events, how-to seminars, giveaways, and offering free samples to expand your customer base. Utilize your slow times to improve customer services.

You can use various tools to analyze trends in how your workforce and physical resources are used.

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For example, you can use an in-store tracker to measure traffic to your stores at specific times. Use this data to plan workforce schedules and determine when to arrange special events. You can also use this information to decrease admin time and to provide better customer service during free times.

4. Provide Workers the Possibility of Leaving Early

Occasionally, the whole day can be sluggish. In this case, allow your workers the prospect to leave early for the day.

For workers who work on an hourly basis, the free time may be worth more than the paycheck. For your full-time workforce, this unanticipated free time could be a great surprise.

Now, this can result in two benefits.

Firstly, your employees will work harder and perform better in anticipation of days where they can leave early. This will also break the monotony of regular 9-to-5 workdays.

Secondly, when you know that you’ve got less number of hours to complete a task, you expand your work to fit the time available for completion. As a result, you work faster which also increases your efficiency.

Use this downtime to bring automation to the workforce. How about automating your email marketing? You can also consider leveraging technology to automate your customer service and marketing campaigns. This will free your human resources and they can enjoy some leisure time. 

5. Schedule Training and Arrange Networking Opportunities

It’s best to train and educate your employees during downtime to advance your team’s skillset and competencies.

Use the slow periods to improve workforce abilities and skills by arranging workshops and training sessions. Choose the right online training software to train your employees, even your remote staff. It’ll help you build a stronger staff while also making workers feel appreciated.

You may also arrange networking opportunities so that your employees get a chance to socialize and exchange ideas. Such events give a chance to learn from one another and share experiences.

Contemplate what your employees have in common and use that to bring the team together. Whether it’s a company baseball team or a once-a-month potluck party, encouraging such activities will reinforce relationships between employees naturally.

6. Focus on Employee Health and Wellness

If you want your company to be productive, you must focus on improving the health and wellbeing of your employees. Use the slow times to arrange wellness programs for your employees. Engage your staff in physical activities. You may conduct yoga and meditation sessions in the workplace.

Some other employee wellness activities you may consider arranging in the office include conducting employee surveys to evaluate personal wellness interests and needs, conducting health risk assessments, reviewing group health plan (medical as well as pharmaceutical) usage rates, evaluating health culture, and conducting environmental inspections of the office in general and so on.

After carrying out a needs evaluation and acquiring management support, you can create an in-house, employee-driven group that helps form and sustain a wellness culture in the business. This group will help construct structural support and usefulness for the wellness program.

You can also arrange a sports competition or a friendly rugby match. This will not only provide the much needed physical exercise to your employees but will also be an excellent team-building exercise.

7. Concentrate on Employee Engagement

According to a report by Towers Watson, engaged workers are twice more likely to be prolific and present as compared with disconnected workers.

Moreover, as per the recent employee engagement review conducted by the Australian Institute of Management, it was revealed that the review participants who were dedicated to their existing job stated a “good affiliation with colleagues” as their topmost reason to stay with a company while remuneration was listed at number seven.

Such is the power of focusing on employee engagement.

You don’t need to invest heavily in getting employees to feel connected. All you have to do is to focus on building a culture that is based on inclusiveness and diversity and where every employee feels like a part of the culture.

To reconnect and ensure that all your employees feel appreciated on an individual level, you can create listening opportunities all through the business such as conference room meetings, focus groups, and face-to-face interactions between mentors and mentees.

Moreover, always ensure that you’re not valuing irrational work schedules over productivity. Several companies embolden a culture that prides itself on sixty to seventy hours per week. However, such a schedule is unmaintainable and disrupts your employees’ personal lives.

So, use this downtime to come up with policies and strategies that encourage employee engagement so that your employees don’t even think about leaving you and your company.


Downtime in the workplace is inevitable. There could be a natural disaster or a technical breakdown that can put your operations at a halt.  Instead of wasting this time, use these 7 recommendations to make the most of it, and boost productivity.

These strategies are easy to implement and won’t cost you much. But, in return, you can receive huge bonuses.

Downtime is the perfect opportunity to reorganize, reward, and train your workers.

Written By
Jamie Miller is a blogger for SkyPrep, a provider of leading online training software for organizations to train employees’ partners and customers. Jamie is a regular contributor to blog posts related to knowledge sharing, L&D, and eLearning.

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