The beginning of summer is marked with anticipation and excitement. There is an expectation that things will slow down a bit. You can almost hear the screech of tires in parking lots as colleagues exhale and people skip through the hallways and out the door on their way to vacation. In offices and plants all over the country, it seems as though folks have mentally made a shift and emotionally closed the door on working at full speed.
It is predictable that as summer approaches, so does a corresponding slump. Employees shift their thoughts and focus to the warmer weather vacations, or time off. Then after they go on vacation or take a 3-day weekend, there is the return and adjustment to work as they ease in to routines and ramp back up. As people go and return from vacation, there may be only a few weeks during the summer months when a full team attends a meeting.
How does a leader ensure that employees stay engaged during the restless but laid back months of summer?
NOT EXASPERATED, EXCITED
Instead of becoming frustrated, use June, July, and August to re-energize and revamp your corporate culture. Our current reality is that in today’s corporate culture flexible work hours, enhanced family leave policies, and technology have all helped create a new definition for how we work. As a leader, you have many more options and resources available to you to create a winning corporate culture that is not limited by the time of year.
Although summer vacation season is a hard habit to break. Here are some ideas about how to eliminate a potential slump:
- Change It Up: Nothing energizes like changing up the routine. It gets people’s attention. Get outside – the sun and fresh air can improve your mood instantly. Go for a walk-meeting – exercise is an automatic mood lifter so even a little body movement can produce some of the same results. Sometimes, just getting out of the building is all it takes to shift into a higher gear.
- Focus on Wellness: Help your employees reach their personal health goals. You can help others learn to manage and reduce stress, or embrace relaxation. Bring in a yoga instructor or wellness expert to share tips that they can use at work and at home. A summertime concerted effort on diets or exercise can create some friendly competition, promote team building and add some fun. (Don’t forget to provide a disclaimer that employee should consult their healthcare provider.)
- Celebrate: Don’t wait until the end of the year or a special occasion to celebrate individual and team successes. Encouragement and recognition are things people pay attention to. Consider sending a weekly email which focuses on both team and individual successes. This is a great way to keep the team motivated and focused.
- Set Achievable Goals: It is customary to load teams up at the beginning of the year with organizational and individual goals and objectives. This can be overwhelming as employees scramble at year-end or throughout the year to gage performance. Instead, for the summer months, set smaller monthly or weekly achievable goals which focuses on the progress being made. It can create the habits and momentum needed to keep up with things more effectively when September arrives. This makes it easier to focus and measure throughout the year.
- Try Something New: Taking a risk at work is often avoided because no one has time for mistakes (or even worse – failure). Shift things around for the summer months and encourage people to try something new. Create a safe-zone where your team is encouraged to risk and pick up new information or skills. Let them share what they have learned with everyone at the end of the summer.
It’s easy to slow down during the summer and assume that a decline in work output, energy and enthusiasm is just the way it is. You can reverse the slow-down in momentum by using these tips to help build a healthy summer corporate culture. Your employees may be surprised but they will appreciate the results when your team goes from a summer slump to a winning streak.