When the weather turns sunny and warm, thoughts tend to stray from meetings and memos to beaches and bathing suits. Productivity often takes a dive when workers are physically in the office but mentally in vacation mode.
The key to employee engagement is to embrace the season rather than fight against it. Here are eight tips for keeping employees focused and happy at work during summer.
1. Roll out extra perks. Tasks and deadlines are usually more relaxed during summer, which means schedules can be, too. Boost morale and employee engagement with popular perks like half-day Fridays and more flextime than usual. Employers could also give employees a bridging holiday — an extra day off — on the Monday before Independence Day or the Friday before Labor Day.
2. Help them get away. For a variety of reasons, some employees are reluctant to use their vacation time. Help them avoid burnout by giving each person on your team a small financial bonus that must be used toward travel or lodging.
3. Be a summer role model. Your team members follow your lead when it comes to work-life balance, so set a good example. Get away from the office and go completely off the grid. Refrain from sending emails at night and on weekends so employees don’t feel like they have to work when they should be relaxing.
4. Cool down the dress code. Professional attire is important for employees who work face-to-face with customers and clients. But for those who don’t, let them wear more casual clothing. Comfort is key to being happy at work, especially during summer months. Be sure to clarify the seasonal guidelines to help workers avoid making summer fashion faux pas.
5. Go outside. Sunshine and fresh air can boost happiness at work. Hold a staff meeting outdoors — under a tree or on a terrace. For regular check-in sessions, invite an employee to go for a walk, which combines business with exercise.
6. Give out goodies. Everyone loves freebies. Surprise your team by having an ice cream truck park outside the office to offer cool treats — on the house. Another fun idea is to set up a frozen yogurt station in the break room.
7. Plan outdoor events. Make the most of relaxed summer months, especially if your area has harsh winters. Plan a department-wide picnic during the workday, and give everyone the rest of the afternoon off. Treat employees and their families to a baseball game. Build team spirit with a day at the county or state fair, complete with tokens for food and games.
8. Combine education and fun. The slower pace of summer makes it an ideal time to get away as a team for professional training and development. For optimal employee engagement, find a retreat center that offers plenty of outdoor activities.
Summer is practically synonymous with vacation, but that doesn’t mean office productivity has to suffer a three-month dip. When you help employees stay happy at work, your bottom line stays happy, too.
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