Published on 31st July 2014 by Gemma Harding
Britain has seen some scorching summer weather already this year and it’s likely there’ll be more to come. Once temperatures rise, however, employees start to flag and it can be hard to keep your team motivated. While everyone wants to be outside and relaxing with friends and family, there’s still a job to be done that isn’t weather-dependent. Here are 5 suggestions for how to keep productivity levels – as well as staff energy levels – high when temperatures outside are soaring.
1. Let employees dress down where appropriate. When the sun has his hat on, your employees will doubtless want to shed their jackets, loosen their ties or kick off their heels. Many companies now institute a ‘casual Fridays’ policy – especially during the summer months – so that employees can work in more comfort as the weekend approaches. However, you could also relax your business dress code on other days of the week to improve the mood in the office. If you do so, make sure employees have a change of clothes available for client meetings or when interacting directly with customers.
2. Take team meetings outdoors. Do you really need to hold your weekly meetings in a stuffy office or conference room? If not, make your meetings an ‘al fresco’ affair, preferably somewhere quiet where you can hear yourself think and your staff speak. Being stuck at a desk all day during the summer is no fun, so allowing employees to get a glimpse of sunshine whenever possible will really lift their spirits. A change of environment can also spark new ideas and new perspectives, so taking things outside may pay off for your business in unexpected ways.
3. Bring the outside world in. For those who have to stay by their desks, try to make the office as bright and comfortable as possible. Crack the curtains and open the windows to let some sunshine and fresh air in. Working in natural light – rather than under a fluorescent tube – can do wonders for lifting the office mood and help people stay motivated. Installing plants in the office not only helps to create a more comfortable and natural environment but plants also absorb pollutants in the air and produce oxygen from CO2. Peace lilies, spider plants and rubber plants are among the most effective common houseplants for filtering air, according to a NASA study. With more fresh air circulating in the office, employees will stay alert and engaged for longer.
4. Take a trip together. As well as stepping out as a team for meetings and other short breaks, you might want to take a longer break with your employees. A short vacation together can be a great way for people from different departments to get to know each other, encouraging better working relationships and a stronger team spirit. An adventure holiday which can develop collaborative and problem-solving skills is better than a week on the beach with too much ready booze to hand, though.
If you’re taking a lot of employees out of the office for an extended period, you’ll need someone to cover for them while they’re gone. Outsourcing customer services, reception duties and even sales on a short-term basis can help you cover any staff shortfall. By employing a professional contact centre to handle business enquiries, you’ll be able to relax on holiday, knowing that you’re not missing any important calls.
5. Create a sense of summer fun. Parties are a good occasion to thank your staff for all their hard work so if everyone has finally lived down the office Christmas party, it may be time for a summer barbecue. You can sizzle some sausages at a nearby venue or in the office itself – but watch those smoke alarms! A competition with prizes – such as paid days off – or even a weekly raffle offering summer concert tickets or a trip to the local spa can help to motivate your workforce in a fresh and fun way.
Keeping spirits high throughout the high-temperature summer season will ensure your employees stay as focused, motivated and productive as the rest of the year. Summer is a time for enjoying friends, family and nature so give your employees a break. Let them soak up a bit of sun and fun now and help keep the winter blues away.