Need to know:
- The summer months present an opportunity for employers to boost staff motivation as employees naturally start to think about events such as holidays and days out.
- Employers can base workplace motivation initiatives around how employees spend their personal time.
- The summer offers an ideal opportunity to focus on wellbeing, which can, in turn, boost motivation.
The warm weather can present an opportunity for employers to focus on the engagement of employees by offering some quick-win motivation initiatives.
A holiday forms an important part of many employees’ summer plans, and an employer cannot go wrong by recognising this in the workplace; acknowledging the all-important getaway will help improve employees’ motivation levels while they are still at work. David Walker, chief commercial officer at Personal Group, says: “A low-cost but high-impact perk like a guide book would be something that [employers] could give to [their] employees to show [they’ve] given some thought to where they’re going.”
In addition, where benefits programmes include discounted access to airport lounges, organisations can highlight this to staff. “For those [employees] who are flying, this can have a hugely positive impact; not only for the employee but also their family,” says Walker. “The ability to spend a couple of hours away from the hustle and bustle in a lounge can really make the holiday start in a special way.”
Offer flexible-working options
Demands on an employee’s home life can increase in summer and so a request to take time off to attend a child’s sports day or end of term play is common in many workplaces. Employers can take a proactive approach and let employees know in advance that it is okay to take time away from work to attend these events, says Walker. “Some employers can have a fear of flexible working or working from home, […] whereas I think employers can really get a lot from their employee by saying ‘not only do I want you to work flexibly, I want you to enjoy that time with your kids’,” he adds.
The school holidays can also be a logistical nightmare for working parents looking to negotiate childcare. Iain Thomson, director of incentive and recognition at Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services, says: “[Employers] could offer shorter hours or additional days off. It’s a nice way to reward staff with something they will value without having to find additional budget.”
In addition to supporting staff with school-age children, flexible-working arrangements can help employees facing a range of responsibilities outside of work, as well as demonstrating that an employer recognises the varying demands on their time. This could also include flexibility for personal commitments such as allowing employees to leave early to attend a music festival.
Some employers introduce flexible summer working hours, such as an early finish on Fridays, to help boost motivation during the week.
Motivate with activity-themed benefits
Organisations can also promote the perks available to staff that help them to make the most of their down time and enjoy days out over the summer months. This could range from discounted cinema and theme park tickets to experience vouchers and shopping discounts. “Multi-store gift vouchers are always popular because they give that flexibility,” says Thomson.
Support for leisure activities could also extend to organisation-wide events. Sodexo recently treated its own employees to a cinema takeover experience in three locations whereby the organisation had exclusive use of the cinema. “The perceived value of that is a lot higher than the actual cost,” says Thomson. “Tactical things like that will spur people on.”
Create a wellness focus
Sunny days can motivate employees to take more of an interest in outdoor activities, so if an organisation can bring that focus to the workplace, it can in turn boost motivation and engagement levels. A summer wellness programme could include elements such as sports days, all-employee fun days, barbeques, and exercise classes.
Property management firm Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work hosts wellbeing events throughout the year for the 9,000 employees at the London-based business park, but makes the most of the outdoor space in summer months. Carly Gibbs, events manager, says: “Wellbeing is at the centre of all the things we offer. Some are large scale offerings to keep people motivated throughout the summer, like having 130 tonnes of sand come in and have a beach for two weeks.”
In addition, employees can hire bikes on the park or join a volleyball or football league during their lunchtimes. “We try and encourage people to get outside, we put deckchairs and bean bags outside and try and get them away from their computer to try and refresh them,” says Gibbs.
Although motivation should be a year-round priority, the seasons do make a difference and as the longer days turn employees’ minds to holidays, days out, and warmer weather, so employers can take the opportunity to boost motivation and productivity.