The summer is the time for beach parties, camping, outdoor games, and picnics. Although much of the recreational events are fun, they’re limited mostly to school and college kids. Working adults don’t get to enjoy summer like they once did.

In addition to nicer weather and thoughts of outdoor activities, many employees will take advantage of the summer months to take vacation time. With people in and out of the office on vacation and kids in summer camp instead of school, employees can be more distracted than usual, even if they aren’t dreaming of more outdoor activities, most teams start to feel the ‘summer slump.’

How can you combat the summer slump and keep employees motivated? Usually, by creating a motivation plan, which can work for any company.

Here are a few helpful ideas to combat the summer doldrums.

1. Focus on Company Culture

Do you notice your employees’ focus beginning to shift, production slipping, or tensions and disagreements occurring more frequently? If so, it may be time to evaluate your company culture.

What truly helps your employee’s motivation and attitude all year round? The answer is company culture. A strong, engaging company culture should be in place, regardless of business size. Ideally, your workplace environment contributes to positive feelings and keeping employees focused and productive while providing a challenging and fulfilling place to come to every day.

Atmosphere is key, and a strong company culture can inspire strong actions. In addition to embracing the summer months, try to enhance the atmosphere of the workplace all year round.

Some ideas for improving company culture include:

  • Transform the workplace into an active community
  • Encourage an open atmosphere to promote collaboration
  • Promote a comfortable workspace with office plants, cut flowers, and opening windows

Implementing strong company culture can boost teamwork, improve productivity, product or service quality, and reduce frustrations and tensions. Employees want to feel connected and that their work makes a difference. Investing in people and taking their needs into consideration is what makes their potential shine.

2. Extend Some Flexibility During Summer Months

Being stuck in the office all day long while the days are bright and cheery is a drag. Instead, try to be flexible with employee work. Your employees need some room to breathe, and often when working restrictions are relaxed, they can be more productive.

Here are a few ideas to bring summer sunshine into the workplace:

  • Allow employees the flexible work to work remotely
  • Conduct meetings or team planning projects outside
  • Start Half-Day Fridays
  • Host a business ice cream or float social

Planning some summer themed all-company and team events not only improves overall employee morale, but it builds trust -- especially among employees who may need a little more flexibility to work from home to take care of family responsibilities. Permitting flexibility within a workplace helps your employees build trust and loyalty to a company that’s shown care and concern for their needs.

3. Institute Casual Fridays

Most businesses require presentable, professional attire for everyday working functions. Even those laid-back businesses still require casual business attire. However, there’s always an opportunity to relax the rules a little by introducing official casual Friday dress.

Companies can show their openness to change and casual dress by hosting Casual Fridays. Some companies institute a Hawaiian shirt Friday, and to promote more participation, you can hold raffles for the best Hawaiian shirt. Raffle prizes can include:

  • Tickets to a movie/theater play
  • Summer concerts
  • Sporting events
  • Local bowling alley, pool, or tennis locations

Give all your employees a chance to win and offer whimsical consolation prizes for those who don’t win the grand prize.

For companies already implementing a casual attire policy, opt for flip-flop Fridays or knee-length shorts. Any business can be transformed to accommodate and embrace the summer months.

4. Host a Company or Team Outing or BBQ

Try to avoid hosting company and team events inside during the summer. People want fresh air and sunshine! Summer is about having fun, good food, and company. So, instead of staying inside during an event, host it outside. There are plenty of summertime foods you can incorporate into your event.

Some inexpensive summer foods for company gatherings include:

  • Sandwiches and cold drinks
  • Hotdogs and barbeque
  • Hamburgers and ice cream

You can also include a themed-meal event for summer’s most popular holiday (July 4th) or lesser known summer holidays such as Hammock Day or National Watermelon Day. Holding themed raffles is another way to include people and spark interest.

Not interested in hosting your event on the company lawn? Try a local park with a shaded pavilion and a walking path. A park serves as a great place for large off-site events. Plus, you can incorporate breaks or games, allowing staff to roam the area, engage in recreational activities, and enjoy the outdoors a moment among themselves.

5. Let Employees Know it’s OK to Take Time Off

If you find employees unable to concentrate on work and the overall office morale has dipped significantly, it’s probably time to encourage your employees to take a vacation.

Not only do vacations give employees time away from the office, but it gives them a chance to recharge and refresh themselves. By the time they return, they’ll be focused and ready to work. You’ll see a change in productivity for the better. And, it helps to improve the work-life balance that many employees and employers struggle with.

If your organization offers unlimited paid time off, chances are your employees take less time than those in organizations with a prescribed number of days per year. Avoid letting your company gain the reputation of a sweat shop that only offers unlimited PTO to intimidate employees into working every day. This summer encourage summer vacation. You’ll probably see a rise in your productivity numbers.

6. Prepare in Advanced

Summer comes around the same time every year, so there’s no reason not to be ready for the outdoor meetings, themed holiday events, and half-day Fridays. Your employees help your company run smoothly, so show them a bit of care by preparing for the summer slump in advance.

Check your budget and ensure you have the funds for raffle prizes, summer-themed food, and pavilion rentals. Moreover, get feedback on the popular and themed events that your employees enjoy—not everyone will want to be outside all the time. Try to find a balance that will work for everyone.

When you take steps to improve the overall workplace and morale of your employees, especially during the summer months, your organization will benefit from the heightened engagement and productivity among well-rested and active employees.