The summer months can be some of the most draining for employees. The warm and inviting weather can be enough to put them in vacation mode, let alone hearing about exciting travel plans from friends and family.

However, summer doesn't have to become the default "off-season" for your business. We asked 10 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) how they get their team to hustle through the warmer months, and they responded with answers to fit every budget, from sweet and simple treats to weekend getaways.

1. Go on ice cream runs.

In the summer months, we do spontaneous ice cream runs. Each week, we rotate who is in charge, and that person decides when and where we will go. We then go outside and enjoy the sun together while eating ice cream. Everyone comes back to the office feeling refreshed and energized! --Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile Swim School

2. Give time off.

With one team, we incorporate a month off during the summer when community engagement is low to allow us to work on other projects for the fall. We also take a break from team meetings and regular content and encourage team members to go on vacation or work odd hours. As long as the work is done on schedule, there's no problem and it feels like playing hooky.--Kelly Azevedo, She's Got Systems

3. Run exciting projects that matter.

It's the same as any other time of the year: when you've got an exciting project that people care about, they'll get behind it and be motivated. Asking for input and getting buy-in for your projects will ensure that your team is focused on achieving goals and winning the game you're creating for them!--Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media Inc.

4. Hold seasonal contests.

Considering we are a heavy sales organization, we rely heavily on seasonal contests. Sales reps respond better to incentives that correspond with the activities in their personal life that are contending with their time. For example, we might offer a 30-day summer sales contest and give away a weekend at the lake, including a couple days off.--Drew Gurley, Redbird Advisors

5. Have weekly outdoor lunch breaks.

No matter how busy the week is, we always make time to take a little over an hour off in the middle of the week to enjoy lunch outside as a team. Not only does this energize them and provide team bonding, but it also brings up some interesting concerns that we normally wouldn't be able to address during meetings or busy moments of the day.--Billy Ono, Kami Speed

6. Offer summer Fridays.

At ZinePak, we use Summer Fridays as motivation to work as efficiently as possible Monday through Thursday. If there are no interfering projects or issues, we allow employees to leave at 2 p.m. every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Allowing employees to enjoy the afternoon and yet still be accessible by cell phone is a great incentive to work even harder during the week.--Kim Kaupe, ZinePak

7. Hold a random movie day.

We skipped the last four hours of one day last year to find inspiration and went to see a movie. Our team still mentions this to new hires when describing how great our company is to work for. Don't you remember when you played hooky in high school? License some rebellious fun within the workplace, and you'll never deal with the work-version of truancy.--Anthony Johnson, American Injury Attorney Group

8. Offer a summer sabbatical.

We offer a July summer sabbatical since it's our least busy month, and it gives the team a chance to catch their breaths before our hectic fall season starts. It's not a full sabbatical where no work is done, but rather a lighter month during which everyone can enjoy a nice work-life balance.--Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

9. Host company-wide fitness contests.

Having company-wide fitness contests during the summer can be a great way to boost your team's productivity. Gamify it and give away prizes for the greatest number of minutes exercised or steps walked in a month; make the prizes appealing. Your employees will have more energy, and they'll be getting outside to enjoy the summer weather.--Jared Brown, Hubstaff

10. Make summer vacation mandatory.

I'm a deep admirer of hard work. I notice when people come in early and stay late. However, summer presents the perfect time to unplug and spend time outside of work. I encourage all staff to take a summer vacation and enjoy alone time or quality time with loved ones. I'm confident that travel mitigates burnout, and it's important to take a break from time to time to stay balanced and motivated.--Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow.com

Published on: Jun 15, 2015