The dog days of summer are here and with them come ice cream socials, trips to the beach, softball games, and backyard barbeques. As the weather heats up, many organizations are seeing their employee engagement drop. According to Captivate Network, the “lazy days of summer” often have a significantly negative impact on the workforce. Organizations report a 20 percent drop in productivity and a 15 percent increase in project turnaround times. In addition, there is an uptick in distracted workers by 45 percent and a drop in attendance by nearly 19 percent.
How can your organization beat the summer slump? How can you boost employee engagement in the summer months?
- Participate in volunteer activities: We already know that volunteerism and corporate citizenship can play an important role in increasing employee engagement. With the summer months making it more difficult for employees to be truly engaged at work, participating in a charity event or volunteer program is the perfect solution. In fact, summer is a great time to take advantage of the weather and give back to the local community. By enabling employees to get out of the office for a day, volunteer activities are a great way to boost morale, re-energize staff, spark productivity and increase workplace engagement.
- Offer increased flexibility: Summer is the perfect time to embrace work/life balance. Providing even a minor adjustment to work hours can go a long way toward increasing morale. Consider introducing an option to come in later or leave early a few days a week. Let employees kick off the weekend sooner with summer Friday hours. Here at Jacobson, we have implemented a summer Friday program where staff is allowed to leave the office two hours early on one Friday a month in order to enjoy the season.
- Plan a summer outing: While having an “out-of-office day” may sound counter-intuitive, when trying to increase workplace productivity, it has actually been proven to work wonders for organizational energy—both short- and long-term. A fun event can give employees the opportunity to get to know each other and boost their levels of camaraderie and communication. Look into planning fun activities such as a trip to the ballpark or even a biweekly happy hour. For years, Jacobson has offered employees the chance to participate in a summer outing and has seen a positive impact on employee engagement. Recent trips for Jacobson have included a day at a horse-racing track and a cruise on Lake Michigan.
- Enjoy a change of scenery: Sitting in the office day-in and day-out can start to wear on any professional. Especially when the thermostat hits 75 degrees and the sun is shining bright. Take advantage of the great weather and provide employees with a change of scenery. Have a team lunch at a local park, reschedule a meeting for the outdoor patio or take a trip down to the local farmer’s market. Getting outside and enjoying the nice weather is a great way to rejuvenate and refocus.
- Set summer goals: Don’t let the summer months turn into your slow season. Set specific goals for those three to four months to encourage and motivate employees to be more productive. Pinpoint a few key areas you want to work on and create fun challenges and rewards for accomplishing each task. Make sure to align your goals and projects with the overall organizational mission. Employee engagement spikes when individuals understand how their contributions affect the big picture.
Summer doesn’t have to be a bust for your organization. Work on providing fun and engaging activities to keep your employees motivated. With a focus on increasing employee engagement, your organization is sure to see a boost in its summertime productivity.
What activities are your organization doing to keep employees engaged this summer?