The unofficial start to summer—Memorial Day—is the weekend and warmer weather and perhaps slower workloads are on their way. In the past, this blog has offered tips for decluttering, organizing, networking, and checking email while on vacation. While these are all noteworthy summer activities, this blog will look at how to keep employees happy in the summer months.

Encourage community service
Offering Volunteer Time Off (VTO) gives employees the chance to give back, builds loyalty to the company by making them proud that they work for a caring company, and builds teamwork skills while having fun. Departments can choose their activity and volunteer together when workloads are lighter. There may be an employee with a passion cause who is willing to spearhead the participation.

Watch that the thermostat
CareerBuilder conducted a survey and found that of those surveyed:

  • 46 percent say their office is either too hot or too cold
  • 51 percent say sitting in an office that is too cold impacts their productivity
  • 67 percent say sitting in an office that is too warm impacts their productivity
  • 15 percent of workers say they have argued with a coworker about office; and
  • 19 percent have secretly changed the office temperature during the summer

Discomfort distracts people, decreases productivity and may make them feel that management does not care about the employees. Bickering is both a time- and morale-suck and management needs to assure there is a not a climate war happening in the office. To make employees feel better about the climate, the company can distribute blankets or sweatshirts to those who are cold and fans to those who are warm, and encourage all employees to drink water to stay hydrated or if they tend to run warm. Some rearranging may be in order if the temperature varies around the office. Encourage workers to take breaks and to step outdoors for some fresh air.

Let’s Get Physical
If the workload is lighter at your office, the summer may be a good time to implement an office yoga or exercise session. Taking time to exercise can reduce stress, energize the body, and increase productivity. The Mayo Clinic found that yoga can also reduce risk factors for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, and alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia. A yoga session can be included as part of a corporate wellness program, which can aid in employee unity and morale and improve productivity.

Let’s Have a Party
Just as the holiday party boosts employee morale, a summer outing such as barbecue, picnic or sporting event can improve employee satisfaction. It is an expression of appreciation for the hard work accomplished by the employees and they will often reciprocate with gratitude for the chance to be part of the company. The company gathering also gives staff and manages to interact on a more “human” level, away from assigned company roles. If the company culture is one that promotes healthy competition, some activities such as softball or volleyball are appropriate as long as employees do not feel pressured to participate.

Summer is usually associated with fun and the workplace can leverage the more casual, informal and slower business cycle during this season to rejuvenate employees physically and emotionally. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and a summer of fun.