For many companies, the summer months are less than productive as employees go on vacation or in some cases the entire organization shuts down or operates at half capacity. So how do you keep your team engaged during the warm weather? Aside from staying consistent with team meetings (despite absence), and maintaining ongoing projects, here are a few ideas for making sure the momentum is not lost.
Extend The Weekend
In office buildings everywhere, around four o’clock on a Friday, people start to itch. They look out the windows, they feel the sunshine on their arms – who wants to be sitting inside a stuffy office? After all, summer days were made for outdoor activities. And let’s be honest, how many of us are fully engaged on a hot Friday afternoon leading into the weekend anyway? An easy way to engage a tired, summer weary group is to extend the weekend.
By ending the workday an hour early on Friday and starting an hour late on Monday, you can effectively extend the weekend by as much as two hours. For employees with kids, a couple of extra hours any time is worth its weight in gold. But during the summer months, when school is out and families with small children are trying to get back into the swing of day care after fighting traffic home from a cottage or camping late on a Sunday night, having that little bit of flexibility on a Monday morning is a big deal. You will find that your team will actually be much more productive even with less hours because they are more focused and refreshed.
Consider Flex Time
It’s good enough for the public sector, why not you? Many local government offices operate on “summer hours” during the months of June, July and August. Flex time gives families and employees the opportunity to spend more time at home when the kids and other obligations are high priority. As the way of the future, most companies should be actively considering flex time anyway as a way to accommodate the changing nature of business, family responsibilities, even global hours and extended work days. Flexibility is key and people can be just as productive with flexible work hours as they are when constrained by the 20th century 9-5 convention.
Get Creative: We All Scream For Ice Cream!
Let your team know that you’re aware of the difficulties of working during the summer by getting creative with little gestures to make the day less unbearable. Where appropriate, when the weather is hot, ease up on the dress code and give people the option of leaving the three-piece suit in the closet for a change. Consider having the ice cream truck come to the office for a sweet, cold treat in the middle of the day. Let the adults enjoy some of the fun parts of summer and they’ll reward you by being more productive. Company sponsored initiatives like office softball or soccer teams are a great way to build team spirit and keep employees motivated and engaged.
Summer is a difficult time to be stuck indoors working. With warm sunshine, blue clouds and good times, even the most dedicated employees would rather be almost anywhere else in the world. Keep your team engaged during the warm weather by shaking things up a bit with extended weekends, flex time and a few creative and unexpected opportunities to enjoy the season.