Architecture & Design and Human Resources

7 easy and effective ways to keep employees connected this summer

July 12, 2017
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Summer is here, and for some companies, that means offering their employees half-day Fridays, flexible schedules, casual dress codes and much-needed vacation time. It also means employee productivity can dip during the summer months.

Between the fun and flexibility that come with summer, it’s important to keep employees happy, connected and productive. Thankfully, today’s workplace is more digital and connected than ever, allowing many employees to stay engaged at work wherever they go — whether it’s working remotely on a Friday from their home patio or from an air-conditioned coffee shop. For those who stick around the office, it’s important to bring that summer fun into their work environment to keep them happy and engaged, too.

Instead of letting the dog days of summer drag for your team from July 4 to Labor Day, here are some ways to keep employees connected and productive all summer long:

1. Empower your team with interactive digital technology. There are dozens of tools that empower employees and help them stay connected from any location. Use technology like Microsoft’s Surface Hub to boost collaboration this summer. Surface Hub allows teams to work together on a shared canvas, both in a room and through video conferencing. Interactive technology also allows for a more collaborative experience, making it easier for employees to seamlessly transition from individual work on their own device to group work. This way, no matter where employees are, they can connect to the team and keep collaboration going strong.

2. Bring summer into the office through digital signage. Evoke feelings of summer by encouraging employees to share their vacation photos and post them on digital signs throughout the office. This brings summer into your work environment and is a fun way for employees to share their vacation stories with coworkers. Create a fun company hashtag to share photos, videos and comments throughout the summer.

3. Practice mindfulness. With so many distractions in the workplace, from constant emails and phone calls to social media and impromptu meetings, mindfulness is a key to staying productive. A report by Science Daily says mindfulness can positively impact workplace relationships and help employees stay present and focused at work. Incorporate mindfulness into the workplace by making it part of your company’s wellness program. Host a workshop on mindfulness, coordinate a yoga class or create a space in your office dedicated to meditation.

4. Have fun with your team. Summer is the perfect time of year to give employees plenty of time to “play” and bond with one another. Host a companywide barbeque, plan an ice cream social, schedule a happy hour or take your team out to a baseball game. You also can re-energize employees by hosting a lunch hour cornhole tournament in the parking lot or a giant game of tic-tac-toe. Want to make sure these events get scheduled? Start up a “Fun Committee” consisting of employees who can help coordinate events and team outings.

5. Bring the outside indoors. Get employees connected to nature by adding more indoor plants to your office. Research shows plants in the workplace help improve employee productivity by 15 percent and have many health benefits including improving air quality, increasing attention and reducing mental fatigue.

6. Get outside. No one wants to stay inside all day when the weather is so inviting. Plus, there are many benefits of getting some Vitamin D from the sun. Instead of holding another meeting indoors, take the meeting outside to a local brewery or coffee shop patio to brainstorm. You can also add some functional outdoor furniture to your office that supports working, which is much-needed for those who need their laptop to be productive. Not only do these ideas get employees outside and in the sunshine, but collaborating in a new environment can spark creativity and new ideas.

7. Encourage employees to unplug. Even though we’re all about using technology to make our lives more productive and connected, we also believe it’s important to unplug. Taking time off during the summer does wonders for employee productivity. Entrepreneur.com says more than 50 percent of employees who take vacation time return to work feeling refreshed and engaged. Not only is it important to remind employees to rest this summer, but management should also lead by example and take a vacation, too. So set your automatic vacation reply and take the time you need for yourself.

These are just a few fun and creative ways to keep employees happy, connected and productive during the summer. By taking advantage of the warm weather and new ways to empower your team, and by using technology that supports collaboration, you can boost employee morale and inspire productivity over the coming months.

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