How to Inspire Employee Excellence During the Summer Slump

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How do you maintain motivation and morale during the sweltering, stifling months of summer? Here are seven ways to keep your team motivated.

Summer is coming. Days are getting longer, kids are getting excited, and managers are wary that the lazy, warm days might have a significant impact on motivation and performance. But do managers really have cause for concern? And if so, what steps can companies put in place to ensure maximum productivity in the coming months? 

It has been shown that temperature certainly affects our productivity levels. A CareerBuilder survey revealed 71 percent of employees claim to be less productive when they are working in an uncomfortably warm office. Another source shows that 50 percent of offices are considered too hot in the summer, and when the temperature hits 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius), productivity drops by a notable 15 percent. When employees are overheated, they become tired, irritable, and lose their ability to focus for prolonged periods of time. 

Of course, temperature alone doesn’t cause a productivity drop at this time of year. There are also psychological elements at play. People long to be outside, dosing themselves up with some Vitamin D while enjoying the fresh air and the company of their family and friends. However, the show needs to go on and we, as managers, need to keep our employees motivated.

To prevent the summer from becoming a performance nightmare and to maintain morale during this period, you should consider implementing the options below. 

1. Have your meetings outside 

This may be a tip you’ve heard before, but there are a number of proven advantages of having meetings outside. These include increased communication, heightened relaxation, improved energy levels, fewer interruptions, and importantly, a dose of fresh air. So unless you desperately need a projector, consider moving your weekly meetings to the outdoors. Managers could also consider conducting their regular employee check-ins while surrounded by nature. The Vitamin D will do wonders for overall mood, and thanks to modern technology and wireless internet, you can remain connected and productive at all times. 

2. Operate flexible working hours 

Employees with families might be feeling the strain of work-life balance more than ever in the summer, with their children no longer at school. Most companies are seeing the light when it comes to flexible working — and employees are grateful, naming it the most influential workplace perk. If your organization is making strides towards flexible working, the summer is a great time for a trial run. 

This flexible working might come in various forms. You might allow your employees to put in extra hours so they can leave early on a Friday. You might even consider allowing your employees to work from home if their work is conducive to remote working. Don’t be concerned with performance levels; it has been shown that employees who work from home are actually happier and more productive

Keep in touch with employees using team collaboration software, and keep track of employee progression using performance management software. Never forget the importance of regular communication to productivity and engagement. 

3. Offer prizes for employees who exceed goals 

To keep employees enthusiastic and productive, consider running a competition in your workplace. If your employees exceed expectations and surpass their goals, show your enthusiasm with a carefully selected gift. Depending on the size of your company, an appropriate prize might be an extra paid vacation day, a day’s pass to the local pool, or a free hotel stay for their family. This will keep employees driven and focused on their tasks, and the incentives will show that you are appreciative of their hard work. 

4. Have fun and promote out-of-office socializing 

Combine the great summer weather with team building efforts and organize an out-of-office event that will bring your employees together. Get everyone out in the open and enjoy a barbecue, a game of mini golf, or even a visit to an amusement park. This will give employees something to look forward to, create a positive work environment and help strengthen bonds between employees. Remember: peer relationships aren’t just good for morale; they’re great for overall employee engagement

5. Ease up on the dress code 

You might want to veto Hawaiian shirts, but as long as your employees aren’t regularly having important meetings with clients, and they aren’t in a customer-facing role, why not relax the dress code for the long summer months? 

Managers should note that when employees are allowed to dress more informally at work, they are less distracted and more comfortable, which leads to increased morale. This is an affordable and effective way of keeping employees uplifted during those warm months of summer. If we’re honest with ourselves, wearing a full business suit in the middle of June is nobody’s idea of fun, so loosening the dress code at this time can be extremely useful. 

6. Encourage your employees to take time off 

Keep an eye out for employees who are overworked. Have they taken time off in the last few months? If not, summer might be the perfect time for them to indulge with a few stress-free days away from the office. Everyone needs an opportunity to relax and unwind. Ultimately, you’ll benefit from a more content and more productive employee. Just remember to factor in all employee holiday time; the last thing you want is to be short-staffed. This will only add to the stress levels of the remaining employees. 

7. Continue tracking SMART goals 

If you’re concerned with dropping performance levels, it is worth revisiting employee SMART objectives. Manager and employee should collaborate on realistic goals, both short-term and long-term. Allow your employee to take the initiative when it comes to goal setting. This will empower them to actually deliver on their promises. Revisiting goals regularly, and discussing steps that need to be taken to achieve them, can really help productivity levels, while showing employees that they are an integral part of the organization.

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