Whether it’s the steam in the air or the spirit across your office, there’s no mistaking it: Summer is here and employees nationwide are ready to let loose and enjoy life just a little bit more. But, as agency leaders know, warm weather doesn’t mean the work stops.
After leading teams through almost 30 summers at Litzky PR, I can tell you with certainty warm weather does mean that team leaders have to work just a little bit harder to keep employees engaged and motivated. You may not compete with the allure of pool days or beach getaways, but rest assured: Keeping teams sharp through summer can be done.
Here are 7 ways I’ve been able to keep my teams functioning, despite summer’s appealing distractions.
1. Plan Office Outings
After months and months of winter, employees want to get outside and embrace the heat. Let them. This simple (and very cost-friendly) freedom will help them enjoy summer – while still producing great work. Break up the week with post-work barbeques or happy hours, or you can even add spontaneity to the day with an outdoor meeting! This change of events will help curb the “fear of missing out” your employees feel when seeing their friends spend all day at the pool.
2. Host In-Office Events
The summer has an incredible amount of unique “holidays” you can rally around to drive fun in the office. For example, July 7 is Chocolate Day, July 16 is National Ice Cream Day and August 26 is National Dog Day (just to name a few). While PR pros are used to leveraging these goofy holidays for press coverage, they can also be a great way to cultivate a fun office environment (think “chocolate potluck” on July 7 or “bring your dog to work day” on August 26).
3. Encourage Full Lunch Breaks
If you have a hard-working team, it’s likely most spend the lunch hour glued to their seats instead of out in the sunshine. Few realize that this one-hour lunch break is the perfect chance to grab those rays or enjoy a smoothie in the park (and capture the correlating #SummerFun Instagram post to accompany it). At staff meetings and weekly internals, encourage team members to spend their lunch breaks outside. A little “nudge” from the boss may be all they need to step outside and recharge in the fresh air. And, if you are the boss, don’t forget to lead by example.
4. Offer Flexible Summer Time Off
For years now, we’ve offered Litzky PR employees the benefit of two extra Fridays off during the summer to enjoy however they’d like – at the pool, at the beach or just catching up on errands. This cost-friendly benefit keeps our employees excited and motivated to work through summer because they’re being rewarded with one of the most important benefits of all: Time! No matter how they use it, employees have expressed time and again the value of these two extra days. And, even better, employees can have low-stress days off knowing that fellow teammates back in the office will handle anything that comes up (an important component of this flex schedule).
5. Set a Summer-Friendly Schedule
No one wants to work on Fridays. No matter how hard you try, the energy at the agency plummets once the afternoon rays are in full swing. Instead of pushing for results until Friday at 5, we decided back in 2000 to close the agency early on Fridays to reward teams for their hard work Monday through Thursday. This is, yet again, another cost-effective benefit to keep employees motivated through the summer weeks.
For years now, we’ve offered Litzky PR employees the benefit of two extra Fridays off during the summer to enjoy however they’d like – at the pool, at the beach or just catching up on errands
6. Suggest Professional Development Opportunities
Summer is the perfect time for employees to fine-tune their PR skills before the craziness of Q3 and Q4 kick in. Work with your team members to determine what personal improvements they’d like to make, and connect them with the resources to reach those goals. In-person classes and events offer a great change of scenery for learning; for those who can’t be out of office, there are also a number of helpful online courses for PR professionals.
7. Create a Back-to-School Experience
When summer winds down and the fall work picks up, you can help your team feel refreshed and motivated by inciting some back-to-school nostalgia. Sure, they’re not technically going back to school, but PR pros love that fresh slate and a shiny new set of “school supplies.” Offer employees some fancy new pens, notebooks, highlighters, etc., and host a back-to-school-themed ice cream social to kick off the “new school year.” This play into nostalgia will remind PR pros of schooldays of yesteryear, and, if nothing else, will unite the agency for a successful end to 2017.
If you’re willing to treat the summer as a season of fun and productivity, you can ensure a happy, motivated workforce who look forward to these months all year long.