Summer is a time many of us associate with fun, vacations and basking in the sunshine, but it’s also an excellent time to advance your business. While summer can be a slow time for many small businesses, many business owners are already thinking ahead and gearing up in preparation for the fall. The problem is, your employees are dreaming of being outdoors and spending more time with their families.
During this time of year, it’s critical for you to find ways to motivate employees and increase morale. Your employees comprise one of your company’s most valuable assets, so it’s important to understand how to keep them engaged and motivated. When they’re not happy and don’t feel appreciated, their discontent may spill over into their customer interactions, costing you sales and even hurting your business’s reputation.
Fortunately there are some simple ways to give your employees what they want at this time of year, without compromising productivity. Here are a few ideas to help you boost employee morale and engagement during the summer months.
Instituting a flexible work schedule can be a great incentive and a powerful way to show your employees that you care. A recent University of Minnesota study found that workplace flexibility improved employees’ work-life balance, helped them work more effectively and reduced stress.
Incorporate a flexible schedule in your workplace by offering employees alternative start and stop times. For example, one employee may prefer to come in at 10 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m., while an early-bird employee may opt to come in at 7:30 a.m. and leave at 3:30 p.m.
With today’s technology, many employees can work just as efficiently at home as at the office. If you expect your business to be slow at certain times during the summer, allow employees to telecommute when necessary. Also consider investing in video conferencing software, which may foster greater interaction both among your employees and with potential clients.
One Cornell University study showed that employees with access to natural light communicated better, laughed more at work and had considerably lower blood pressure than those who typically worked in an artificially lit environment.
With the capabilities of wireless internet and the portability of laptops and tablets, work can be conducted from almost anywhere. One of the easiest ways to motivate employees is to allow them to take their work outside and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine, which may improve productivity and morale.
Allow Skip Days
A recent survey found that 64 percent of employees agree that work-life balance is the most important factor in determining their overall job satisfaction—ahead of job security (59 percent) and compensation (54 percent). Help your full-time employees improve their work-life balance by letting them know that they don’t need to take a sick day to miss a day of work without notice from time to time.
Occasionally, treat your employees to a chance to let off steam. Host a group lunch out, or cater an employee appreciation party that isn’t tied to a special occasion or holiday. This allows your employees a chance to relax and be comfortable in their work environment while promoting team cohesion.
During the warmer summer months, employee morale can drop when people want to be outside doing things but can’t due to work schedules or funds. While adjusting work schedules to meet individual employee needs, you can also offer other benefits such as sponsored activities, says the Society for Human Resource Management. Consider sponsoring a company night at a baseball game, hosting a staff and family barbecue, or hosting a company-sponsored amusement park day where you foot the bill.
For full-time employees, it can be hard to remain motivated and engaged during the summer months. It’s important to create a work environment where everyone wins. Taking steps to promote work-life balance, show your appreciation and motivate and reward employees with simple incentives like the ones listed above can help your team avoid summertime burnout and improve productivity.