Q: Steve – you always seem to talk about being a good boss. Any suggestions on how I can make this summer better for my staff, and myself?
A: I completely agree with the underlying sentiment here. People naturally want to be out enjoying the warm weather and sunshine that comes along with the summer months. One way of boosting office morale then is to take steps to help team members and employees enjoy their summers just a little bit more. Happy employees and team members are much more likely to be productive, and treat customers better.
Summer Office Fun-Tip 1 - Give People Extra Time Off: Some employers don’t immediately like the idea of giving people time off, but it can come with a variety of benefits. Rested employees are far more likely to be creative, productive and happy at the workplace. Emotions, views, and outlooks are infectious, and a negative employee can bring down an entire work environment. Conversely, rested and appreciated employees create the opposite effect.
Time off in the summer will be remembered and appreciated throughout the year. Most employees would rather have time off when the weather is bright and sunny than in the middle of winter, so offering time off now sets the table for making the office place a friendlier one all year round.
Summer Office Fun - Tip 2 - Company Events: The company event has been rich comic fodder in television and movies over the years – do you recall the lame day the employees at The Office endured a few years back? (Best part: Ed Helm’s floating away in a giant Sumo outfit.) So there is no doubt that when they are executed poorly, such events can miss the mark. However, when careful planning is evident, company events can do a great deal to boost morale and an employee’s perception of management generally and the workplace in particular.
Many people spend more of their time with their work friends and “work family,” than they do their real families. The time invested to promote goodwill between employees is, therefore, time and money very well spent. Giving people an opportunity to interact socially and see each other in a different light is a smart move.
Summertime office events should, if possible, take advantage of the good weather. Increasingly, most employees spend the bulk of their time indoors and out of the sunlight. So consider summertime events like picnics, days out to the ballgame, river rafting, or other similar activities that encourage your employees to enjoy a little nature.
Summer Office Fun - Tip 3 - Fresh Air: People feel better when they have access to fresh air. People also feel freer, and that means that they are likely to feel more creative as well. So open the windows. Let free air flow.
Also, adding plants to any office can help reduce illness, as plants such as Boston ferns and snake plants have been scientifically proven by NASA and other researchers to clean air of a variety of airborne pollutants including formaldehyde.
4 Additional Great Tips for Making Your Summer Office Space Friendlier:
1) On pleasant days, encourage employees to bring laptops and allot time where work can take place in outdoor areas.
2) Create extended breaks and lunches so people can enjoy the better weather.
3) Consider the unanticipated outdoor party. This option doesn’t have to be an expensive one – shoot some hoops at the park, bring some soda and candy, and there you go.
4) Ask for employee suggestions, and then let them vote. They might have some great summertime activities in mind.
Summer weather is actually a real business opportunity. Team members and employees will appreciate having the chance to get more fresh air and sunlight and have some fun. The perception that such “frolicking” will lead to a decrease in productivity is, in most cases, not backed up by research or reality. In fact, the opposite is true – fun increases productivity. Why do you think Google and Facebook have all of those scooters, foosball tables, and X Boxes?
They know what we need to know – fun is serious business.
Q: Today’s tip: What else do they do for fun at Google? There’s a five-hole mini-putt golf course, they have BBQs on the patios, on Halloween a makeup artist comes in for the day, there’s billiards, DJ rooms, ping pong, darts, and even hidden “thinking rooms.”