With summer just around the corner, it doesn’t take much to find ourselves lost in a daydream about a little rest and relaxation – especially for those of us who may have experienced a very long winter! It’s natural for motivation to fluctuate, but the summer months pose the greatest temptation when kids are out of school, friends and family are visiting from out of town, or the golf course is calling your name.
How can we keep ourselves and our employees on track when the long summer days begin?
Here are three ways to stay focused and engaged at work – and using nice weather to build a stronger company culture.
A change of scenery can help refocus employees on the bigger picture of working together towards common goals. Summer is a great time of year to let the nice weather work in our favor, opening up potential avenues for team building outside the office that are relatively easy and cost-effective to organize. Human Resources often leads the planning and execution of these types of company-wide activities. Here are a few fun options to consider:
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- Company Picnic – a classic that, when executed well, can be a great time for all. Think about partnering with local businesses that are looking to advertise to a large group in exchange for discounted music, food, activities, and other services. Location, scenery, and weather all play a part in making this a memorable event.
- Company Olympics – a more recent extension of the games started at company picnics, the idea of having every team competing at low-physicality/high-fun office or lawn games is always good fun; many game ideas are available online, or you may consider asking your own teams to work together to create the games themselves.
- Sporting Events – if your company has an event budget to accommodate your various teams, group tickets and food for a local sporting event could also be a great way to give back to those who work so hard.
Personal Time Off
One of the best methods for keeping motivated comes from being around that which we value most. For many of us it is our families; for others, it could be a treasured vacation locale or spending time with friends. As HR leaders, we need to find ways to promote the concept of personal time at the company-wide level as being essential to our employees’ well-being. Employees should feel comfortable taking time off without feeling guilty or concerned about what is happening back at the office. Make sure managers and team leaders plan well when approving PTO for their teams and that they ensure they have proper coverage for key projects and duties so they can relax while on vacation.
Beyond that – if your employees have a certain level of autonomy – trusting them to work from home can increase their feelings of loyalty and engagement. No matter where they go, you both know the job will get done.
At a more intimate level, for those of us who manage a team or support managers directly, sometimes the workload might not give much breathing room to step away and recharge. Summer can often be one of our busiest times of year and in these cases, it is best to find motivation from focusing efforts on what makes our teams tick:
- Competition – competing against another team (Finance always seems to be a good matchup!) to either complete similar work projects or to participate in an outside of work activity can create camaraderie, stoke teamwork, and build good relationships.
- Food – while there is no such thing as a free lunch, sharing a meal with your employees as a sign of appreciation can be a great mental recharge in the middle of a busy workweek.
- Taking a Breather – enable your team to leave early before a long weekend or if it is a nice day; a head start to a weekend can have employees returning the next week rested and ready to work. You might lose out on some productivity today; but, you will more than make -up for it in the near future.