It’s hot and sticky in the office, half the workforce is off on holiday and let’s face it, those left at their desks would rather be on the beach too! With sunny evenings, and the distractions that summer brings it’s no surprise that productivity takes a bit of a dive in July and August. But what can you do to get the best out of employees and encourage employee engagement in the summer months?
Naturally there will be a slowdown but keeping things moving in the summer is all about keeping morale high and motivation up. Happy employees have 31% higher productivity than those who are disengaged.
Here we have 6 things you can do to keep staff happy and motivated at work during the summer:
Employee engagement through being a bit more flexible
People tend to be more sociable in the summer. The warm weather and long sunny evenings allow people to get outdoors and use their free time to enjoy themselves a bit more than in the winter. With plenty of BBQs, after work drinks and invites to other events flying about, there is nothing worse than being stuck in the office and missing out on all the fun. Children are also off school and parents want to spend time as a family. 88% of workers’ value work/life balance and a positive culture as the most essential ideal to a job and keep employee engagement at high levels, the companies which capitalise on this are the ones who get it right! Remember, keeping staff happy, keeps productivity up.
More flexible working hours allow staff to take full advantage of the summer sunshine and the opportunities for fun and family time. While 75% of employees rank workplace flexibility as the most important benefit they receive at work, schemes which allow employees to work an extra hour every day in the week and use the time they have built up to leave early on Friday are hugely popular. Another option is to give staff the flexibility to choose their working hours so long as the busy periods and minimum number of hours per day are covered.
Get outdoors to maximise employee engagement
Being stuck inside all day when the weather’s nice would zap the motivation out of anyone but it can also have an impact on staff wellbeing. The benefits of being close to nature are well recognised and include reduced stress, lower blood pressure and improved immune function. One study amongst office workers found that even looking at pictures of nature was enough to alleviate stress. But why stop at pictures? Take meetings outdoors whenever possible, perhaps a brainstorming session could take place on a stroll down to the local ice-cream shop or you could operate a take your laptop to the park policy when appropriate. If neither of these are possible, encourage staff to get outside on their lunch break – did you know that 67 percent of office workers eat lunch at their desks? Employees who get outside during the working day will have restored energy and a mental boost. Win-Win and again, a subtle way of showing your business cares and this reaps benefits in terms of employee engagement as well.
A time for team building
The slower summer months are the perfect time to take some time out of the day to day and use the downtime to work on your team building initiatives. Effective team building creates trust, dissolves conflict and inspires communication between colleagues – the result, high employee engagement! Try incorporating a team building day or morning with an afternoon or evening doing something fun together and getting to know each other better. A team that gets along together on a personal level will also get along much better in the workplace.
Allow a summer casual dress code
A more relaxed dress code allows for a more comfortable working environment. If staff are not client or customer facing there is no real need for them to be in business attire making them hot, sweaty and uncomfortable. Even some of the most formal businesses operate a dress down Friday!
Encourage personal development to boost employee engagement
Most of the year staff are busy and have little time to spare but the summer months offer some relief. It’s a good idea to encourage employees to use the downtime effectively and help them to do something for their own personal development. Provide employees with the opportunity to take a soft skills course in leadership, communication or presentation skills and the company will reap the benefits of a more skilled and productive workforce. It also means you are working to retain your best staff and prevent staff turnover, we know there are some specific reason why good employees leave.
Reward and recognise employees
One of the best and easiest ways to keep staff motivated is to make sure their work is recognised and rewarded. It doesn’t take much but a simple thank you or well done goes along away, it makes people feel appreciated and respected. There so many ways to show recognition for good work from dedicated rewards and recognition schemes, to throwing a summer party, to a simple note of gratitude. When staff are acknowledged, and valued they want to do more.