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Senior HR Account Manager
Chartered Member of the CIPD, is involved in developing the HR portal Grace and has an interest in PVG.
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Monday 11th June 2012
Summer, it’s the time of year when employees appear to slow down, thus hindering productivity within the workplace. Some employees are winding down and are in holiday mode before and after they have been on a sunshine holiday and other staff members are less motivated if they are unlucky to not be able to go away. Summer months can also be a logistical nightmare for working parents, to manage child care during the lengthy school holidays.
This year in particular, the impact may be far worse with a summer full of sporting activities; Euro 2012, Wimbledon, and the Olympics. As a nation who loves sport, this is surely a recipe for even less productivity and a possible 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 to keep your employees engaged and focused on the task at hand.
If individuals are set a particular task or a team task, this will keep the mind focussed on what they need to do.
If you have team meetings, make sure these are still happening on a regular occurrence. It keeps the mind on what you have to do, and allows individuals to maintain communication with team members. If there are any announcements which can be made, do it. This will make employees feel more involved. Furthermore, allow the time for employees to chat about the Olympics and particular events so they feel that they are part of the occasion.
Say “Thank you”:
this sounds obvious but a thank you goes a long way, and all too often it is easy to overlook someone’s efforts. When someone feels appreciated for the work they do, their performance improves.
You could determine what are the favourite events or particular football games of importance which you may decide to show on TV or play on the radio – so employees can 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 within the workplace, or allow staff to run a sweepstake on Olympic medallists.
These don’t have to be expensive, for example, if business requirements allow, you could let staff away half an hour early on an occasional Friday - a small gesture like this that could increase morale. Or treat them to lunch, a drink after work, or an afternoon ice cream. Alternatively, consider drawing names from a hat on Friday and the winner gets a late start on Monday.
With technology being so advanced now, not everyone has to work from the office, or have to be in from 9am – 5pm – it may be during the summer months that you allow working from home or flexible working where it is appropriate.
This may be a possibility if the commute for some employees is in and around London or other Olympic venues during the Games.
It could also mean providing staff with some leeway about when they are able to start work, or work half a day from home, offer them staggered or compressed hours or different break times.
So, if you are an organisation that already does some of these things, please share your ideas with others.
Or, if you feel that you need to be take action this summer to maintain employee engagement, then hopefully a few of these ideas will help you on your way to a motivated and productive workforce.