Summer Motivation – Beating the summer slump

With some in holiday mode, others may be even less motivated if they have been unable to take or plan a proper break. And let’s not forget the stress of working parents who have a logistical nightmare on their hands juggling childcare during the lengthy school holidays.

All these factors can hinder productivity in the workplace and 2012 is predicted to be worse than usual, with a summer full of sporting activities lined up from Euro 2012 to Wimbledon and the Olympics. As a nation that loves sport, it is more than likely that there will be a loss in productivity and a decrease in the motivation of a workforce who would rather be elsewhere.

So what can you do as an employer to maintain that motivation? Here are some top tips from Gravitate HR to keep your employees engaged and focused on the task at hand.

Set objectives: If individuals are set a particular team or individual task, it will keep their mind focussed on the work ahead, contribute to their job satisfaction and give meaning to their work. You can make sure your objectives are well designed and clear by using the S.M.A.R.T method as a guideline (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time).

Communication: If you usually have team meetings, make sure they are still happening on a regular basis throughout the summer as it will focus employees on what they have to do and allow for an exchange of ideas. You should also make sure when communicating announcements that there are opportunities for employee feedback as this will make staff feel more valued and involved.

Furthermore, by encouraging and allowing the time for employees to chat about the Olympics and any other important events it will help them feel that they are part of the occasion so increasing their morale and productiveness.

Say “Thank you”: This sounds obvious but a simple “thank you” goes a long way, as all too often it is easy to overlook someone’s efforts. When an individual feels appreciated for the work they do their performance improves because they feel they are a valuable team member.

Social events: You might decide to show or listen to popular events or important football games on TV or radio so that employees can either tune in during their breaks or take a quick five minutes to catch parts of the games during working hours. The Olympics in particular will be broadcast live during working hours so, rather than ignoring the fact, embrace the occasion and encourage discussion in the workplace, or allow staff to run a sweepstake on Olympic medallists.

Offer perks: These don’t have to be expensive. If business requirements allow, you could occasionally let staff away half an hour early on a Friday, or you could perhaps treat them to lunch, a drink after work, or an afternoon ice cream. Alternatively, you could consider drawing names from a hat on Friday and the winner gets a late start on Monday. Small gestures like this can increase morale and in turn provide profitable returns on your business.

Flexible time: As technology is so advanced now, not everyone has to work from the office, or have to be in from 9am to 5pm, so it may be that during the summer months you allow working from home, or flexible working, when appropriate. This may also be a possibility if the commute for some employees is in and around London or other Olympic venues during the Games.

You could also provide staff with some leeway about when they are able to start work, or let them work half a day from home, offer them staggered or compressed hours, or different break times.

The summer of 2012 is set to be a busy and exciting one with many distractions for staff, but by following these guidelines you should hopefully be able to find the balance between encouraging your employees to enjoy the summer and getting the most out of them at work.

If you are an organisation that is already doing some of these things, please share your ideas with others. Or, if you feel that there are areas to improve upon, take action this summer to maintain employee engagement and a motivated and productive workforce.