As the outside warms up, many office workers dread just being in the office – either because they’re sweltering from the heat or shivering from the air conditioning. If you can, make sure your office temperature is comfortable for your employees. Unfortunately, in many buildings, the HVAC system is beyond individual business’ control. But if you’re able to change the temp in your office, think about sending out a quick poll to your employees asking “Is the temperature in the office too warm, too chilly, or just fine?” You’d be surprised how passionate many employees are about this, and how dramatically it can impact productivity.
Especially if you can’t control the temperature in your office, on particularly sweltering days, think about taking your team to the movies. Catching a matinee on a summer workday feels gloriously luxurious – it has all the feeling of playing hooky, even if you’re doing it with your work group. Summer happy hours at a place with a patio or other outdoor seating area are also a great way to relax with and get to know your team and enjoy the longer summer evenings.
If you can get outdoors, plan some company activities. Even if you don’t have company outdoor space, meetings can be held in a nearby park (or any green space – one company frequents a local cemetery with an always-deserted “reflection area”). If you do have outside space, think about organizing fun activities, games, or competitions to encourage employees to get out into them. Good ideas include a game of croquet or bocce, horseshoes, or cornhole (a/k/a bag toss).
Encouraging employees to take walks or runs – either together or alone – will get them outside and may make them more creative. You can even have “moving meetings” while walking or running -- use a voice-to-text note-taking app (or just a voice recorder) to memorialize your thoughts along the way.
Joining a recreational league with a team of coworkers can help everyone get to know and trust each other. Adult leagues flourish for everything from softball to kickball, soccer to Frisbee golf. Or, put together a team to compete in a multi-day race like a Ragnar Relay (held in various locations around the country) or a one-time fun run like a 5k; for the more adventurous, consider an “obstacle” run like Tough Mudder or a “themed” run like a Zombie run.
Many companies relax their dress code in the summer, permitting shorts some or all of the time. If you do so, however, be sure to lay out very clearly – in a policy, in writing – what the new dress code allows and prohibits. This will help you enforce your dress code policies and procedures while keeping your employees happy.
Now that the weather is nicer, encourage your employees to walk or bike to work if it’s possible. Having incentives is good, but having shower facilities is even better. If you don’t have or can’t install shower facilities, explore partnering with a local gym for discounted memberships or day use, or with other companies in your building that do have shower facilities that might be willing to share.
Summer is the perfect time to bring your team random treats that say “summer” all over – like ice cream, slushies, watermelon, berries from the farmers’ market, or fresh flowers. Small tokens of your appreciation can boost your employees’ moods, keep your employees happy, and liven up your office.
Depending on your industry, summer might be the perfect time to schedule annual employee reviews. If summer is a slower time, managers will have more time to spend on putting together meaningful reviews and feedback. Employees, on the other hand, will be more motivated to maintain high levels of performance during review season.
Encouraging your employees to take real vacation can make them more productive and satisfied with their jobs in the long-term. Good written vacation policies and procedures for managing employee vacation requests and scheduling help ensure that your team remains productive. Summer is also a good time to encourage or allow more flexible schedules, remote work options, or even a shortened workday on Fridays.
Simple steps like these can help ensure successful, happy employees all summer and beyond.