Summer is here, schools out! Oh wait, the real world doesn’t warrant three month vacations, and work still needs to get done during the most highly anticipated months of the year. So, undoubtedly, heading into the office becomes a little less appealing with the sun shining, but it is possible for employers to actually take advantage of the summer season in an effort to boost employee morale and increase productivity.
Summer time work habits are undergoing a change as a new generation of workers begin to dominate the workplace.
Brad Karsh, Author of Manager 3.0: A Millennial’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management, provides his insights on how to incorporate summer fun while maintaining order in the office space.
Here are the Do’s and Don’ts to managing employees during the summertime.
Work Hard, Play Hard : Provide employees with summer incentives e.g., short days on Fridays after a productive Monday to Thursday work week, or put together an office outing once a month for employees. This will make employees feel as though they are still enjoying summer rather than being cooped up in their office, and it will also promote bonding between employees. Employees appreciate these types of incentives because it shows that management cares about employee satisfaction.
Utilize Technology: While most offices are extremely technologically driven and sitting behind the computer screen can comprise a large part of an employee's day, utilizing technology in the workplace in a way that goes outside the box can create some summer fun. Social media can be a great tool to drive the collaboration, creativity, and connection that Millennial’s crave.
Set Clear Expectations: To set up a partnership up for success, be as direct as possible. Work with employees to determine work hours, communicate schedules, boundaries, conference call and feedback protocols, and more. Setting crystal clear expectations will allow projects to stay on task and due dates to be fulfilled so that everyone has time for summer fun.
Lose sight of core values: While the office environment can become more relaxed and lenient during the summer months, it is important to establish clear expectations and boundaries from a management perspective. Don’t forget to draw a visible line in the sand for employees that will reinforce the company's core values regardless of the season. For example, office hours on Friday may be shortened, but this does not mean that you end the week early if your work isn’t finished. Always encourage your team to under promise and over deliver so they can take advantage of fun summer office perks.
Micromanage: Part of having fun at work for Millennials is the opportunity to take on a new project that they wouldn’t normally get to work on. Build in some fun by looping them in on a new project to shake things up.
Millennials may need some structure at first, but micromanaging them for the duration of a project will not do them any good. Encourage them to use their resources to get the job done, but resist the urge to micromanage. They will actually value and grow from independently working on a stretch assignment.
Forget the value of face to face: Give and receive regular feedback – in person! Employees have fun at work when they are successful at what they are doing. Giving feedback is a great way to get them to that place, so make time for in person, face-to-face communication and avoid giving constructive feedback over e-mail.
Call or videoconference employees; never give constructive feedback over e-mail. At least once a month, it is important to organize a conference call with the entire team or, if possible, an in person meeting.