Monday August 10, 2015
Our People Director Emily Moore looks at how employers can keep employee engagement, motivation and productivity high throughout the hot, sunny month of August
The saying goes ‘make hay when the sun shines’, yet when the sun is blazing through office windows, the pub beer garden is beckoning and colleagues are jetting off to far flung destinations, keeping up productivity spring in the workplace in summer can be easier said than done.
If employees feel engaged in the workplace, they’ll be motivated to keep output levels up, so here are some top tips to keep employees motivation, engagement and productivity levels as high as the August pollen count…
Flexible working options are free and effective – they boost engagement and, according to the ILM, 82% of managers believe they increase productivity. People feel trusted and empowered to get on with things and go the extra mile.
You could offer the option to work from home one day a week, if their role permits or allow flexible hours, so they can start work late and leave late or start work early and leave early. Some employers also encourage their people to work late on summer evenings in order to finish at lunch time on Friday. This engages employees and motivates them to complete projects before leaving to enjoy the sun. 91% of the UK’s small businesses offer some form of flexible working (CIPD) so don’t be left behind.
Form a social committee
Create a social committee (we call ours the Ministry of Fun!) who can organise summer events ranging from quizzes, to outdoor cinema or just a night in the pub. Set the framework and budget, then leave the committee with the freedom to be creative and get on with it. And for those worried that their day jobs will be impacted, don’t be, in our experience, people are more motivated and productive because they’re treated like responsible adults.
Have an ‘out of office day’
Have a summer a team event. It’s a great excuse to have a barbeque in a park, a family sports day, take a trip to the zoo or have a day by the sea. Employees will like the idea of spending some time together socialising out of the office. You don’t have to make it compulsory, though for those who want to go, it’s a great team building opportunity and a chance to make some memories and stories to chat about back in the office. Take some pictures and use them to make a montage in the office (ours is in the entrance to our loos!) – this way, on inevitably cold and wet winter days, you and your team can look back and remember a great sunny day out.
And finally… let people disconnect
Employees only get a few weeks annual leave per year, so if they’re taking time off over the summer make sure they can use this as an opportunity to unwind, without replying to messages or emails.
Often employees panic and work late on the last day before going away. Encourage them to have a meeting with colleagues on the morning of their last day to hand over any important projects and update the team. That way they will have the rest of the day to remember anything they’ve forgotten and won’t leave the office feeling stressed.
Colleagues will be happy to pick up the slack for these short periods, so long as they know the same will be done for them in return when it’s their time to take a break. Trust is key.
If your people work in an office environment, encourage them to put an out of office reply on for emails when they’re off, with details of a colleague to contact in their absence. Ask them to brief the colleague so they know what to do with incoming enquiries.
Some workplaces also arrange for emails to be bounced back during vacation periods with an out of office message that they won’t receive messages they receive during their break, a contact who can help and advice to email again after their return date. There’s a ‘how to’ for that here. If that doesn’t work for you, ensure returning holidaymakers have space and time to get through their emails and up to speed on the morning of their return without too many meetings or interruptions – no matter how tempting that might be…