(From the July 2023 Edition of eFORUM)
By Kelly Maxwell
As Charles Bowden once said, “Summertime is always the best of what might be.” And indeed, the summer season brings warmth, relaxation, longer days, and plenty of reasons to celebrate. This summer, the pandemic (hopefully) feels like a distant memory for most. “Work from Home” policies have been mostly eliminated or revised into a hybrid model across the country, and it is largely business as usual. For many, this means a return to the office, which can be a significant change from the cottage office or home office from past summers.
To foster a collaborative work environment, whether it’s the first summer back or just another year, here are some effective strategies to implement and communicate to your employees:
- Cultivate Deeper Connections
Summer offers a unique opportunity for increased collaboration and team connection. With colleagues taking vacations at different times, those who remain in the office can seize the chance to work closely together, exchange ideas, and strengthen relationships. This fosters a sense of camaraderie and unity within your team.
- Boost Productivity and Focus
While summer may bring its fair share of distractions, it’s important to recognize that being in the office can enhance productivity and focus. The quieter office environment, with fewer interruptions and distractions, allows for increased concentration and efficiency. It’s an ideal time to tackle important projects and make significant progress with to-dos that keep getting put off in the busier months.
- Emphasize Professional Development
With potentially fewer meetings and a more relaxed atmosphere, summer can be an excellent time for professional growth. Encourage employees to attend workshops, webinars, or conferences that align with their career goals and development as a team. This investment in personal development will not only benefit individuals but also contribute to the overall growth of the business.
- Consider an Office Refresh
Investing in a comfortable and inspiring office environment can greatly impact employee satisfaction. Consider redesigning workspaces to promote collaboration, providing ergonomic furniture, and incorporating elements that enhance employee well-being, such as natural lighting and greenery. Additionally, offering amenities like well-stocked kitchens, relaxation areas, and modern technology can contribute to a positive office experience.
- Prioritize Client Experience
Maintaining a consistent workflow and providing excellent client service are crucial, regardless of the season. Remind employees about the importance of a strong presence in the office during the summer months to ensure smooth operations and exceptional service. This commitment to work will strengthen your reputation and build trust with clients. You may also implement summer hours so employees can focus their efforts while in the office and leave earlier.
- Enjoy Together
While in the office, embrace the joys of summer as a team. Organize team-building activities, lunchtime barbecues, or outdoor meetings. By infusing a touch of summer fun into the work environment, you can create a positive and enjoyable atmosphere that motivates everyone to give their best.
Encouraging employees to be in the office during the summer requires effective communication, highlighting the benefits of in-person collaboration, and creating an engaging and inspiring work environment.
However, keep in mind that time off is important too, so set an example and take time off yourself so employees feel encouraged to do the same.
Enjoy every minute and have a wonderful summer!