By Diane Dunton
Here in the Northeast, when cold weather and snow has faded into our memory and the days are - for the most part - long, warm and sunny, we look to spending time with family and friends, enjoying the outdoors.
Business Shift in Summer
Summer allows employees local vacation time away from the office, especially for so many who don't have the luxury of getting away in the winter. In summer, attitudes in the workplace also tend to shift as business and personal needs change.
As an employer, how does your culture support the need to shift gears in the summer months? What practices do you employ to keep employees focused while recognizing the need for time away from the office? How can you engage employees in a positive way?
Ideas to Keep Employees Engaged
Here are four ways you can address the summer slowdown while supporting your employees.
1. Summer Hours
Allow employees from different departments to work together to create summer hours that still meet your customer needs, while giving flexible time. How this looks can vary. Employees can come in earlier and that would allow them to leave earlier and enjoy more of the daylight hours. Or, your company might be able to close a few hours earlier on a Friday, starting the weekend earlier.
2. Lunch Break with Outdoor Tournaments
Creating opportunities to spend time outdoors while at work can be another way to enjoy the summer weather and boost performance. Ask for volunteers to run an outdoor, on-site (if available) volleyball, bocce ball or Lacrosse tournament. At the end of the summer, the top teams earn prizes.
A recent Bristol University study showed that exercising on a work day significantly improves an employee's concentration and their ability to stay calm and productive. Working post-exercise also assists with problem-solving and increases success with networking.
3. Off-site Barbecue with Family Members
Enjoy a day away from the office on a weekend day, inviting family members to a park or someone's backyard. Employees can spend down-time with family and co-workers while management does all the work!
4. Learning Opportunities
Develop opportunities for employees to learn about each other's jobs and the connection to customer satisfaction. Hold lunch and learn sessions allowing each department to share their goals and successes.
Although this is not just a summer activity, it's a way to engage employees. We all like to share our stories of success. With a slow-down in business, you might even be able to start an ongoing visual along a well-traveled hallway where employees can share customer success stories.
Enjoy Summer While It's Here
Whatever you do this summer, take the time to enjoy the longer days and the sun. We all need a break from the challenging Northeast winters. Recognizing the need of your employees and giving them a change of pace will go a long way in keeping them engaged.