4. Sponsor picnics. The way to your employees' hearts may, in fact, be through their stomachs. "One day have an ice cream truck or a lunch truck appear [and] provide a time for employees to leave their desks and enjoy a little food and fellowship outside," says Ashley White, director of Human Resources for APQC, a proponent of business benchmarking, best practices and knowledge management research.
"We have a number of picnics planned throughout the summer, either brown-bag style lunches or where the company pays for food/refreshments," adds McNamara, which are always good for morale.
And at 911 Restoration, a nationwide company that repairs property after disasters, during the summer, lunch "turns into a buffet of food laid out nicely set up in the warehouse where everyone gets two hours to eat, speak and more," says Scott Kennard, a PR specialist at the company.
5. Hold an after-work happy hour. "We organize nonmandatory happy hours right after work," says Hajmil Carr, CEO, TrueLine Publishing, a B2B digital publishing and custom media-marketing firm. "In the summer, we send out emails inviting everyone to happy hours that take place on outside decks at watering holes walking distance to the office," he says. "Although it's not technically a work-sanctioned function, we usually have a manager pick up the first few rounds so that everyone has a good time. Sending sun-thirsty staff a picture of a piña colada or a margarita via email on a beautiful day keeps people focused until the bell rings. Then we all head out together to enjoy the weather."
6. Allow employees to leave early or work from home on Fridays. "During the summer months, [we allow] employees [to] work from home on Fridays," says Christina Rae, president, Buzz Creators, a boutique PR and marketing firm. "This helps cut down on commute time and helps boost employee morale."
"We offer our employees summer Fridays, so that between Memorial Day and Labor Day they can leave at 3 p.m. at the end of the week, [if the] necessary work is completed by that time," says Dinsmore. "The team is more productive throughout the week because they want to take advantage of their Friday afternoons."
7. Allow workers to have more flexible schedules and work remotely (not just on Fridays). "Don't hesitate to allow employees to work from home (or their beach house) on occasion," says Jesse Lipson, general manager and vice president at Citrix, a provider of cloud, mobile, virtualization, collaboration and networking services. "With the technology available today, like videoconferencing solutions and remote desktop applications, employees working off-site can be just as productive and connected out of the office as they can be in the office."
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