It's a gorgeous, sunny day outside... and you're stuck in the office.
Everyone seems to be staring longingly out the window from their desks. With glimpses of summertime coming our way, it is difficult to stay focused at work.
As employers, how do you maintain good levels of productivity and happiness in the workplace when employee concentration is focused outdoors?
Our research has demonstrated that employee happiness plays a crucial role in workplace productivity. As discovered by Dr. Leith, “a happy worker is a productive worker. When people are happy they are more energetic, more motivated, more creative, and most importantly, more productive at given tasks”1. What makes your employees happy in the summertime, and how can you leverage that to boost productivity?
We’ve outlined six ways to engage employees and lift them out of the inevitable ‘summer slump’:
Listen to employees
Spend time listening to your employees needs. Welcome open communication and feedback to learn what they enjoy and value at work in the summertime. It is important to take physical, mental, and emotional wants and values into consideration to be inclusive and creative.
Include employees in event planning
Your employees know what they like best! Employees should help plan summer activities that are creative and engaging for everyone. Involving employees in this process will make them feel valued and responsible, as well as ensure that office events are fun for everyone.
Create a flexible work environment
Employees shouldn’t have to feel confined to their desks from 9-5. If permitting, convert the patio to an outdoor workspace, giving employees the ability to take their work outside. Consider implementing occasional half-day Fridays so everyone can look forward to a couple of extra hours of their weekend.
Encourage break time spent outdoors
Lunch and coffee breaks spent outdoors can be a great way to recharge productivity levels throughout the day. Encourage breaks to be taken with coworkers to provoke collaboration and creativity.
Inspire employees to bike to work. Spur some friendly competition and accountability among coworkers! Summer is a great time to focus on employee well-being and healthy lifestyle habits.
Change up the routine, frequently
Summer implies a change in every day pace. Likely, employees will have families transitioning out of a daily school routine and into summer-camp mode. Keeping the same-old pace in the office can be challenging for employees to stay focused.
Changing up everyday routines at work to provide mental and physical breaks improves employee morale and reduces stress levels. We changed up our routine by bringing a dog into work! Implementing small and frequent changes really help to boost overall company happiness and productivity.
Volunteer as a team
We suggest spending a day volunteering outdoors in your community. Choose a cause that aligns with your company’s mission statement or your employees’ values.
Volunteering will increase employees’ sense of community at work. In research performed by Dr. Vanessa Buote, it was determined that “creating a sense of community at work is linked to more positive attitudes about work, drawing more meaning from work, and greater well-being and happiness” 2. Committing yourselves to a cause will be a strong motivating source for employees, as well as an opportunity for everyone to get some fresh air and a change of pace.
Summer is a great time of year with lots of opportunities for change. Instead of simply going through the motions for these next few months, adapt to the new pace and implement ideas to keep morale and productivity high among employees. We at Plasticity will be enjoying our outdoor workspace this summer!
1 Leith, Scott. (n.d.). Improving Employee Outlook & Motivation: The “Five Spheres” Activity. Plasticity Labs.
2 Buote, Vanessa. Gratitude at Work: Its Impact on Job Satisfaction & Sense of Community. Plasticity Labs.