The sunshine days of summer have many of your employees thinking more about spending time at the beach than building a spreadsheet. And when staff members take a week of summer holiday, it’s more like three weeks because they’re daydreaming about it before they leave and then pining for it when they return.

Keeping your employees focused on their jobs during the summer months can be a challenge. Try injecting some fun into the workplace, so your team won’t be counting the minutes until they can trade their computer chair for a chaise lounge by the pool. Some options to consider:

Meet outdoors

If it’s beautiful day, why spend it cooped up in a conference room? Take routine or informal meetings outside into the fresh air. Consider a “walking meeting” — take a stroll around the block while you and your team converse. You may find that changing the regular meeting dynamic helps fuel creative thinking. At the very least, your workers are likely to be more attentive because they won’t be staring out the window — or twiddling with their smartphones — the whole time.

Promote involvement

When employees volunteer together outside the workplace, it can help improve camaraderie and teamwork in the office. Working at a food bank, cleaning up a public space, and mentoring youth are just a few ideas. Have your staff members nominate up to three local charities that they’d like to support and then decide as a team which ones to focus on. Participating in charity walks or cycles is another way to engage many employees at once, while helping to strengthen your firm’s profile in the community.

Get creative

Lack of new ideas is often considered one of the key barriers to company innovation. A creative strategy session can invite fresh thinking — while giving your employees a break from their daily routine. Gather your team for a morning or afternoon devoted solely to informal creative thinking. Provide snacks and beverages, and hold the session in a place with a whiteboard or easels to write down ideas. Talk about ways you can collaborate better, serve clients more efficiently, improve your workplace culture, and more.

Arrange a company outing

Anyone up for cricket in the park? A boat trip down the Thames? A company sports day? Take your employees out for one half-day excursion at the end of July and August as a reward for their hard work throughout each month. (Your employees who aren’t taking annual leave this summer will especially appreciate a mini-getaway.) Vote on the destination and have volunteers from your team take the lead in planning the details.

Share the fun

Buy a big bulletin board and encourage employees to post photos, postcards or small souvenirs from their summer travels. Set aside a few minutes in weekly meetings for employees returning from holiday to share a favourite memory or what they learned during their travels. Remember, many people take time off to engage in worthy causes, and the stories of their experiences may be inspirational to your whole team.

These are just a few ways to liven up your workplace this summer. The best strategy, of course, is to talk to your employees to find out what activities they’ll find most interesting, enjoyable and rewarding. You may discover many workers simply appreciate a more relaxed ’9-to-5′: flexible schedules and the ability to leave work early on Fridays are prized ‘summer benefits’ for many professionals.

Written by Phil Sheridan, managing director, OfficeTeam

Phil Sheridan is the managing director for OfficeTeam UK, a leading recruitment consultancy specialising in the placement of highly-skilled office and administrative professionals on a temporary and permanent basis. A division of Robert Half, OfficeTeam leverages over 65 years of experience in matching candidates with organisations across the UK and worldwide and is consistently recognised in the Sunday Times’ Best Companies to Work For list.

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