Dump the Slump – Summertime Engagement Strategies

With Memorial Day behind us, it’s unofficially summer, even if the calendar won’t formally recognize the new season for another few weeks.

Ahhh…summer.  The feel-good season of the year, when we get to enjoy the benefits of longer days, plenty of opportunities to soak up Vitamin D, and often a much-needed vacation.  It seems counterintuitive to think it could be a stressful time of year, doesn’t it?

Oddly enough, for many executives and employees, summer brings out more stress than other seasons.  Those who intend to take a vacation, will have to plan, budget, prep for time out of the office, and of course, play catch up upon returning.  For executives and employees who are not vacationing, the summer slump may arouse feelings of jealousy over others’ vacations, or resentment for having to cover for colleagues who are enjoying time away from the office.  Still other members of your team may feel the added responsibility for keeping their children busy or entertained, juggling a new temporary schedule while their kids are on summer break.

Irrespective of what is to blame, the summertime slump affects productivity as much as it does morale.  The good news though, as an employer is that there are simple strategies you can implement to ensure your team stays happy, relaxed, and productive during these next few months.  Here are five tips for keeping your team calm, cool, and collected even when temperatures (and possibly tempers) are rising in the office.

  1. Summer Hours – Consider allowing half-day Fridays or late-start Mondays to enable your team to take a little extra personal time this summer. Whether you do this weekly, monthly, or as it suits your business demands, it’s certain to be appreciated by your team.  
  2. Unexpected Treats & Token of Appreciation – One of the best things about taking a vacation is that unexpected adventures and experiences await you. Recreate this in your office. Surprise your team with professional massages, an entertaining guest speaker, or a catered lunch they aren’t expecting.  These small but significant efforts go a long way in staving off summertime work slumps and reducing stress. 
  3. Summer Shhhhh! Hours –Those team members who are taking vacation get to enjoy time away from ringing phones, office chatter, or email notifications. In other words, they get some peace and quiet. Try bringing the same to those who aren’t taking a summer vacation, by having scheduled “quiet time.”  Plan times when the phones and emails can be turned off, so that team members can experience a mini “in-office vacation.”  Encourage team members to use this time to enjoy a quiet activity such as going for a brief stroll, reading a book, listening to music, or engaging in a variety of non-work quiet activities (puzzles, word games, etc.).
  4. Celebrate the Season with a Party – A themed office party or even a pot-luck can help to forge camaraderie, and give stressed team members a nice reprieve from work, while enjoying delicious food, and fun with their colleagues. Dressing up for a silly or lighthearted themed party can also allow employees to see their team and leaders in a more personal light, which may foster enhanced communication, and easier collaborations in the future. You may want to encourage participation by offering awards or prizes for the best potluck contribution, or the best themed attire. 
  5. Opt for Office Olympics – Keep staff from slipping into a slump or becoming overly stressed by hosting games or competitions that are NOT work-related. Office Olympics can range from competing to take the most steps (get your Apple watch ready!), to office-chair relay races, or whatever else is accessible and fun for the team.  Get creative– possibly having staff work in teams to create different “events”.  Support the fun with prizes, and watch your team avoid post-vacation blues, or vacation-envy.

 

These tips all have one common objective— they aim to boost morale, bring enjoyment to the office, and reduce stress.  Remember, you don’t have to break the bank to show appreciation or to keep your team happy, relaxed, and productive.  By implementing just a few of these ideas, your team is sure to feel rewarded, and like they’ve gotten a bit of a vacation of their own, even if they don’t get to take leave from work this summer. (For more ideas, check out these suggests from Inc.com)