The word "summer" conjures up images of lazy days, sunny weather and beach vacations, but those of us who work 40+ hours a week may feel like there's not enough time in the day to enjoy it. So if you want to reward your employees for their hard work throughout the year, seize this opportunity to offer fun summertime benefits.

These six entrepreneurs share the perks they offer during the summer months that you too can implement to see increased employee morale -- and more sunburns -- around the office.

Plan monthly company outings.

With longer hours of sunlight in the day, your team will have more energy for fun nights out on the town. Stanley Meytin, CEO and creative director of production company True Film Production, organizes monthly outings for his team that are both entertaining and productive.

"During the summer, I plan a company outing at least once a month. It's a good way for everyone to cut loose and build more personal rapport with one another," says Meytin. "I try to make the night out something that helps with our communication and team-building skills, such as trivia night or Escape the Room."

Host offsite family days.

Adelyn Zhou, CMO of research and strategy firm TOPBOTS, likes to include friends and family in company outings to foster a casual, social setting. You can get to know your colleagues better while relaxing outside of the professional environment.

"One easy way to build team spirit is to hold an offsite family day. It can be a barbeque in the park, a ball game or a bowling night. Employees are encouraged to bring friends and family," she says. "It's always great to see colleagues in a non-work setting and meet their family and friends."

Encourage team reading breaks.

"We all need to read more. We all need to get outside more. Both activities are great for the summer months and can contribute to mental wellness," says Bryce Welker, founder and CEO of CPA review site Crush the CPA exam. There's an easy solution -- combine these activities by grabbing a book and heading outdoors.

"Once a week, or every other week if you're super busy, designate an hour when people leave their phones inside and bring a book outside," he says. "Encourage your employees to recommend books to each other and you'll see enthusiasm for the activity grow and grow."

Offer discounted tickets to an amusement park of their choice.

When you think of fun activities for hot summer days, going to a water park likely makes the list. Cynthia Johnson, co-founder of personal brand development and management agency Ipseity Media, makes it easy for employees to enjoy an outing with family by offering discounted tickets.

"Whether it's a water park or some other amusement park, offer tickets that can be purchased at a group or corporate rate. Employees can use this to take a break with their kids and spouses," says Johnson. "Our team loves doing this, and the fact that they can pick the park makes it even better."

Overlap hours to allow for shorter days.

Diego Orjuela, CEO and founder of patient monitor accessories company Cables & Sensors, knows that employees crave shorter summer hours to enjoy the weather, but also recognizes that closing your doors early can mean less business. That's why his company utilizes an hour-sharing system that offers the best of both worlds.

"Instead of closing our doors early to let people go home, we offer shorter business days to our team members, but overlap them amongst the team," he says. "Some people come in later, while others leave earlier. Your business hours are not affected, but your team can look forward to fewer working hours during the summer."

Give Fridays off.

"During the summer, we give (and take) Fridays off," says Robby Berthume, co-founder and CEO of agency services company Bull & Beard. This doesn't mean less work gets done -- his team works harder because of it.

"We tend to shift into a more productive schedule Monday through Thursday, more than making up for the time away," he says. "Everyone is happier working harder earlier in the week knowing they can look forward to a three-day weekend."

Published on: Jul 24, 2017