Tips for Using Winter Downtime to Boost Productivity Year-round

Winter’s threats of inclement weather often leave contractors with lulls in work. But even with less demand for decks, fences, and other outdoor projects, you can still strengthen your business. 

1. Fine-tune your systems and processes.
While you have some breathing room, look at your internal operations to find areas needing improvement. For example, if you haven’t reviewed your employee handbook recently, assess if any policies (such as vacation, social media use, etc.) are outdated and in need of revision. What about your organizational chart and job descriptions? Do they still make sense for the way your company operates now? And your sales processes . . . what roadblocks might you remove that are standing in the way of turning leads into contracts? 

2. Up your team’s knowledge and skills. 
Consider certifications and product training (much is available online) to help your employees reach their professional development goals and elevate your company’s competitive edge.   

Another idea for improving knowledge collectively is forming an in-house book club focused on readings with practical applications. For example, in past issues of The Homestead Post we’ve included a series of articles featuring the books Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t and Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

3. Do some team building.
Plan activities to strengthen the bonds between your employees (and you)—perhaps including your workers’ families. Even a short retreat, like a Saturday afternoon at the bowling alley, can do wonders for employee morale.

4. Explore new revenue-generating ideas.
What projects outside your main lane could be a good fit for your business in the off-season? (For instance, many landscaping companies do snow removal during winter.) Think—and ask your workers for ideas—about how you might make hay even when the sun isn’t shining.

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