Summer may be one of the most difficult times of the year to keep your workforce engaged and productive. However it is the perfect season to build commitment to the company, foster camaraderie, and establish ties with the wider community. Consider summer a season to celebrate teamwork, form new bonds, and strengthen relationships between workers. The suggestions below will not only help you achieve these goals but will also result in more focused workers during regular work hours.
Summer in Style:
Get creative together. Decorate the workplace: seasonal decorations; creative works; a bulletin board “Wall of Fame” for employees’ best summer moments with friends, family, and anything else of interest, including jokes or recipes; invite clientele participation. For summer-style dress code, this is the season to take it easy: give reminders of the dress-code and safety needs before any incidents but remember people are simply trying to keep cool! During hot weather we want to keep our tempers cool and compassionate. You might consider offering acceptable summertime dress-code modifications even one day of the week.
For parents summer can be tough for scheduling. Flexible hours and remote work, wherever possible, can be a real boon to parents. Where possible, consider giving employees a shorter workday on summer Fridays. Balance this by having them work later on the other days of the week. This can motivate a whole week of good hard work.
Fun Food Breaks
Food can be a wonderful bonding agent. It can be as simple as a communal company picnic or walking to a local spot for lunch, right up to hosting a weekly Friday potluck, or ice cream sundae bar (ice cream trucks are schedulable and some are allergen-sensitive). Try to have refreshing water available at all times! Bring in refreshing iced teas, coffee and lemonade. Invite staff to bring in their favorites to share or swap recipes. Keep some refreshing fruit and vegetables in a bowl or prepared in the fridge – frozen fruit can make great, cool snacks and great grapesicles.
Competitive Cooperation and Fun
Try a non-business meeting! Do team-building initiatives like challenges: how tall can teams build a structure made of marshmallows and toothpicks, or stack red cups into a pyramid?. Host contests, like “Whoever wins this 20 Questions gets out of here three hours early!”, guess the number of jellybeans from a jar to win a family trip to a local museum; host a party for the silliest summer outfit; invite your employees to participate in a a cook-off with voting sheets and superlatives. Get your “Fellowship Committee” or riddle enthusiasts to work on a Scavenger Hunt within the workplace or surrounding area, with hilarious hints and prizes! If the weather is great, you might even go for a meeting or meal outside – or everyone bring some summer play clothes and have a water-balloon fight with biodegradable and recyclable water-balloons. Teams that play together stay together, so mix up teams to keep competitions feeling cooperative and supportive. Humor is the name of the game!
Get Outta Here!
Bring your team out of the workplace! Investigate local swimming areas and campsites, do up a campfire with s’mores (and music!), go on a fieldtrip to a local attraction, do something outdoorsy together (outdoor courses, ziplines, hiking or horseback trails, boat rental). Invite family and friends to join in. When you get ‘home’ to the workplace, invite them in for an open house!
Share the Fun!
Invite family, friends, and community members to join you for an ice cream social, cookout, outdoor games, or volunteering in an activity that benefits a local charity. Involving others helps create a positive attitude toward your company. Having the good will of an employees’s family can go a long way to ease tensions when the employee needs to work extra hours. If you’ve got the space, keep a few office toys around or gift them to employees to keep or bring home: there’s no shame in a fidget toy and a play break is healthier than a smoke break! Be a company known for valuing both its employees and its community. It feels good to do good, and brings good things in return as the seasons turn.
Remember in this hot season that laughter is a melodious medicine. Play games. Celebrate together and connect. Give back to community. And most importantly, have a great rest of summer!