I don’t know about where you live, but here in Chicago the weather seems to be stuck on one temperature: HOT. Most days, that heat comes with a side of sunshine. With all of this beautiful weather, you may notice your coworkers spending an exorbitant amount of time staring longingly out the window, daydreaming about sand, sun, and dripping ice cream cones.
To help employees refocus their energy back into the office, consider offering employees additional flexibility during the summer months. Added flexibility will allow them to participate in the summer activities they love outside of the office, while still meeting deadlines and completing projects at work. It may seem counterintuitive to expect employees to be more productive by allowing them out of the office more. However, numerous studies have shown that allowing people time to let their mind wander and relax actually return to the office more productive and enthusiastic than before they left.
Below are four ways to add fun and flexibility to your employees’ summer:
1. Summer Flex Hours
During the summer, most of our favorite activities, i.e., going to the beach, fishing, playing/watching sports, or visiting amusement parks and zoos, are best enjoyed when they happen during the day. During the summer, why not be flexible with the hours employees work? An employee could choose to work from noon to eight in order to go fishing during the early morning hours, or could take an extended lunch break to see his daughter’s t-ball game before returning to the office. Organizations could also offer more work-from-home time during the summer to allow employees to work from their backyards or balconies if they so choose.
2. Staff Skip Day
Remember organized “Senior Skip Days” in high school? I didn’t get to go on mine due to an unfortunate scheduling conflict, but the idea of skip day has still always stood out in my mind as an incredibly fun idea. Skip days are more special than a regular party or vacation day because you’re really supposed to be doing something else.
Planning a full skip day for employees might be tough if they don’t know it’s coming because of busy schedules. Instead, you could plan to surprise employees by letting them out several hours early for a surprise party. Radio Flyer does this every year for their annual “Maya Del Sol” party. Employees, or “Flyers” as they’re known at Radio Flyer, know that the party will happen every summer, but are never sure which day they’ll get pulled out of meetings to enjoy food, drinks, and a mariachi band. The surprise and anticipation make the party that much more fun!
3. Vacation Plus Days
Vacation Plus Days were a concept I heard about during my last job search, but I have yet to meet a person who actually receives this mythical type of vacation time. These days are additional vacation days that have to be used between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The idea behind them is to encourage employees to enjoy their summer and take a vacation. Many employees feel taking a long trip will make them look uncommitted to their position and the organization. By offering days that have to be used during the summer, management is encouraging employees to get out of the office and have a little fun.
4. Summer Office Hours
Summer office hours, where employees are allowed to leave early on Friday, are a great perk to employees without taking away that much time from the organization. Here at Avatar HR Solutions, we get to leave an hour earlier than normal working hours on Fridays. Other organizations close two or three hours early to allow employees to get a jump start on the weekend. Taking an hour or two out of the work week won’t have a huge impact on productivity, but getting to leave early makes a big difference to employees.