Sweet summertime is right around the corner. Bring on the company picnics, vacation schedules, and little league games!
The HR department is presented with plenty of opportunities and challenges when it comes to the summertime workplace. It can be hard at times to keep employees attention and focus when the sunshine is calling their name.
Here’s the ultimate summer workplace list for organizations working to make their workplace great:
1. Solidify Holiday Schedule
There are 3 national holidays U.S. employers recognize during the summer, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. Make sure your employees know what days they will have off due to the holidays, especially the 4th of July. If the 4th of July falls on a weekend, be sure to clarify and communicate to employees what day the office will be closed. Also be sure to communicate that to customers as well.
2. Manage Vacation Schedules
Summer is the ideal time for many people to take a vacation. Unfortunately for the HR department and management team, that means many employees wanting to schedule time off at the same time. This can lead to a shortage of workers or disappointed employees if not handled properly. Require employees to schedule time off in advance, receive approval for time off, coordinate with the their coworkers and implement a fair system specifying criteria of the process and spell out whatever limits your organization may have around taking vacation.
3. Implement a Summer Dress Code
With the weather being warmer, it may be beneficial to implement and communicate a summer dress code throughout the organization.
Be sure to effectively communicate the new summer dress code, preferably in writing. Clarify what summer attire is and what it isn’t. Determine what is allowed in terms of apparel and shoes while providing examples (i.e. sleeveless tops, open-toed shoes, flip flops, shorts, capris, etc.) It may also be beneficial to let employees know to be mindful of their daily agendas and not dress inappropriately when meeting with customers or pitching an idea to corporate, depending on policy.
Also apply your dress code uniformly to all employees, and not to a specific gender or demographic.
4. Plan a Company Outing
Summer is an ideal time to organize a company outing or picnic to show appreciation. Hosting a company outing not only shows appreciation for employees but recognizes their efforts and gives them a time to interact and bond with one another outside of the office.
Many organizations host outings at a local attraction, golf course or park.
If the budget is right, it may be nice to include spouses, significant others, or children too.
5. Wellness Program
The summertime weather also allows for more creative outdoor activities and programs to support and promote wellness throughout the organization. Try setting up a bike-to-work program, walking program, fitness activity, or pick-up game.
In addition, the summer is a great time to emphasize nutrition and healthy eating habits with the increased availability of fruits and vegetables. Several organizations have begun to provide fresh produce whenever possible to their workforce.
6. Flexible Scheduling
Many families tend to need more flexibility in the summer. Kids are out of school with little league games and sick babysitters.
Great workplaces tend to provide a bit more flexibility, such as opportunities to leave early on Fridays, revised or shorter work schedules, compressed work weeks, and longer holiday weekends.
Flexibility options allow employees extra time with their families and help them achieve better work/life balance over the summer.
7. Address Attendance Issues
Having a more flexible schedule may lead to a few bad apples spoiling the bunch. Attendance can become more of an issue in the summertime when employees may call off, take unapproved time off, or be tardy/leave work early more often.
Make sure to have an attendance policy that is clearly communicated to employees and enforce the policy consistently.
Being flexible to employees’ needs to keep attendance issues to a minimum and keep in mind that results are what counts the most at work.
8. Take Advantage of Slow-Time Opportunities
Depending on the industry, summer time can be less busy and employees have a more relaxed workload. This is the perfect time to implement development initiatives that may have been pushed to the side the rest of the year in preference of other obligations.
Training, development, programs, and other HR projects are perfect opportunities to take advantage of in the summer months.
9. Have More Fun
The summer is a great time to have more fun at work, relax, build relationships between team members, and focus on collaboration and team-building.
Team-building activities, contests, socials, and philanthropic events help employees build camaraderie and foster open communication.
Consider setting up a volunteering day in which employees spend the morning or afternoon, as a team, helping out at a local nonprofit organization.
Planting and tending to a garden throughout the summer is another fun (and delicious) activity for the workplace.
10. Mid-Year Meeting
Encourage management to have a mid-year meeting with each of their employees to talk about their progress towards their goals and their performance thus far into the year.
Employees should not be surprised by the feedback they receive or the results of their end of year performance review.
Take steps to change performance now with employees who are not performing up to standard. Conversely, with great performers, let them know they are doing a great job and encourage them to keep up the good work.
It may also be beneficial to hold a company-wide mid-year staff meeting to bring everyone up-to-date on the year’s progress, where things are thriving, where things are falling short, and to boost morale.