(Article by Stefanie Lightman originally appeared in CommPRO)
Summer is here. And that means warm, long days paired with more time spent outside and plenty of summertime activities. With flexible schedules and a lot of out of office auto-replies, it’s also the easiest season for productivity and engagement to slip. If you find your employees watching the clock and their hearts and minds are elsewhere, it’s time to heat up the office with summer initiatives that will keep your team motivated.
As a leader, here are four ways to keep your organization productive and engaged during the summer:
1) Go mobile
Flexible hours and summer scheduling can take people out of the office, but that doesn’t mean they have to disappear or disconnect. Mobile is the best way to reach people, particularly during the summer when they are out and about. If you don’t have one already, think about investing in a mobile app. Communicating summer hours, activities and events through a mobile communications app instead of email will increase productivity. Not only is it extremely valuable to reach people where they are, but offering relevant benefits updates and HR services, along with opportunities for interaction and engagement, will set you up for success.
2) Share summer-related hobbies
Communication that demonstrates organizational care inspires employees to connect and engage with each other — and further fosters trust, engagement, inclusion, performance and organizational effectiveness. On top of that, a LinkedIn @Work study found that 47% of global workers said discussing success with colleagues motivates them. Use your internal communications channels to share moments with colleagues enjoying the outdoors — think family days, team hikes or a mindful moment watching the sunset. It’s also a great opportunity to promote the human side of leadership.
3) Take it outside
Summer is all about the outdoors, and just because you work in an office doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, most healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running). With an eight-hour workday and commitments at home, this can be tough to achieve. But physical activity can directly impact stress levels. Managers must reinforce your organization’s commitment to well-being by not only allowing but encouraging physical activity during work hours. Take work outside with walking meetings, active lunch breaks or a mid-day break with a team offsite or hiking trip.
4) Encourage real vacations
According to the State of American Vacation 2018 report, more than half of Americans leave vacation time on the table. Summer is the perfect time to send folks vacation balance alerts. While more employers are beginning to encourage employees to take their paid time off, employees continue to respond to email or feel the need to “check-in” while on vacation. As leaders, it’s beneficial for your team to take breaks and have real, unplugged vacation time. It can reduce burnout, relieve stress and even boost productivity and innovation. This all starts though with you leading by example.
Keeping employees engaged and productive during the summer can be challenging. But with the right strategies in place and manager support, your employees will stay motivated all summer long.