Unhappy employees cost American businesses more than $300 billion in wasted productivity, turnover, and sick days each year. And while many people feel like the winter season causes the biggest productivity slump, the summer months can also make for plenty of distractions and disengagement. So don’t leave your employees to stare longingly out the window at the perfect weather waiting for their shift to end so they can go out and enjoy it.
There are a number of quick and easy steps you can take as a dutiful employer to improve both productivity and engagement during the summer season. Here are just a few ideas to try this summer to boost engagement and overall company culture.
Arrange a Competitive (But Friendly) Sports Night
Many organizations have team-based friendly sports competitions, but if yours hasn’t yet implemented one, summer is the perfect time to start. Usually, employees take the initiative to organize the team, but as an employer, stepping up with planning and organization is a huge morale-booster. Let employees vote on both the sport and the scheduling that works best for them, and make a decision as a team. It’s also a good idea to develop an after-game routine, like a post-kickball group happy hour. Spending for cocktail hours has risen to 76% from 69% in 2010, and gathering after the game allows the group to reflect on the match and grow closer as a team.
Give ‘Walking Meetings’ a Try
One major complaint many employees have about working inside during the summer is not getting to spend enough time outdoors. But you don’t have to sacrifice productivity in order to appease your employees. Consider planning a “walk and talk” meeting to get the body as active as the mind during a productive brainstorming session.
“One way to combat the afternoon slump, but still get some work done, is to have walking meetings. Instead of having a meeting in a conference room, turn them into afternoon walking meetings. Walking meetings are great for one-on-one meetings, for connecting with a peer in another department or brainstorming an idea with a colleague,” writes Bill Cushard on ADP.
Be Flexible With Summertime Scheduling
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that summertime vacations and adventures may elicit the need for some employees to spend more time out of the office. But once again, you don’t have to sacrifice productivity to make this happen; consider implementing a teleworking policy so that employees don’t have to be in the office from nine to five every day. Not only does this give employees more flexibility to schedule trips on their terms, but Americans say they spend an average of 87 minutes a day in their cars. Not having to spend eight full hours a day in the office can really boost a worker’s mood, even if it’s just a temporary summer policy.
Ultimately, maintaining a positive workforce throughout the distracting summer season isn’t always easy, but if you do your best to meet your employees halfway, they’re bound to do their best in return.