The summer months are hard for most businesses. Employee productivity goes down as temperatures rise and the shining sun offers a perfect opportunity to envision yourself lounging on the beach, instead of crunching numbers behind your desk.

When half of the office is out on PTO and the other half is moving at a glacial pace, managers need to focus on pumping up the energy in the work environment to give employees less of a chance to fall into a slump. And for startups that are forever in a race for success, it's hard to give employees some slack when action items need to get out the door.

Your employees would never tell you that they're losing steam, but the glazed over eyes are telling a different story. Here are some great ways to get your employees motivated during the summer months without your company going off the deep end:

1. Try the Walk-and-Talk

Most employees (the ones without standing desks) are sitting on average for 9.3 hours every day according to author Nilofer Merchant. In the Winter, it's rare to hear complaints about staying inside, but that bright sun might motivate employees to take more mid-day coffee runs.   

While I'd never encourage employers to get strict on break time, turning this urge to step outside into a productive meeting is an easy way to implement a little change in the daily routine. Walking is a proven way to alleviate stress, the sun provides that vitamin D you've been lacking, and getting a little exercise can help you stay focused and energized throughout the remainder of the workday.

Steve Jobs famously took long walks when he had serious conversations with his employees. If Jobs found it to be successful, that's enough proof for me.

2. Offer Friday Summer Hours

According to a new study by Gartner, 42 percent of organizations now offer some form of Friday summer hours, allowing employees to clock out a few hours early on Friday (as long as all of their priority work is completed, of course).

It sounds counterproductive -- allow employees to leave early? How does this improve productivity? By allowing your employees to step out to get some additional time in the sun, you're showing them that you care about their personal time, which can keep them at the company for a longer period of time. Giving them an earlier deadline for assignment delivery might encourage employees to get to the office an hour earlier in order to knock out projects while they're fresh.

Friday hours vary by company. Some offer a few hours back every Friday. Some give out a few Friday hour privileges each Summer month. Find what works best for you and your team.

3. Be Spontaneous

Maybe it's an end-of-day company-sponsored happy hour. Maybe it's an impromptu trip to the local market. It could even be an outdoor meditation session -- if you're into that.

When the days seem repetitive, find small, simple ways to break things up and have a little surprise and excitement every now and again. It can go a long way in employee engagement and their overall tenure at the company.

Summer just isn't what it used to be now that you're behind a desk every day, but bring some of that excitement back into the office and keep the startup heat off your employee's backs.  

Published on: Jul 19, 2018