How to Keep Employee Motivation High During the Summer Slump and the Holi-daze

Ahh, summer. The smell of burgers sizzling on the grill. The taste of a perfectly ripe slice of watermelon. The feeling of sand between your toes. (Notice the sight of your computer screen or the sound of clocking into your shift at the restaurant didn’t make the list.)

Slump Time

Often trying to get things done at work while “Summer summer summertime. Time to sit back and unwind” is on a loop in your brain. (Thanks, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.) The struggle is real.

A whopping 53-percent of employees report an increase in distraction during the dog days of summer. Add to that a 19-percent decrease in attendance and 17-percent drop in productivity. (Office Pulse by Captivate)

Summer isn’t the only time when seasonal distractions make employee motivation a challenge.

The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can leave your employees focused on finding the perfect gift for their in-laws or planning a ski trip, instead of on work.

And let’s not forget the frenzy during the Olympics, World Cup, and March Madness!  According to a survey of more than 400 managers and human resource specialists by Seyfarth Shaw at Work, the NCAA basketball tournament ranked third among tech-related office distractions, behind texting and Facebook. Some 30-percent of those polled surveyed called it a “major” diversion.

You don’t have to be resigned to an office full of summer slackers or employees with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads.

If you notice your employees hitting a holiday or summer slump, you can find creative ways to designate time for fun and reward your players who hustle. Here are creative ways to keep your team’s motivation high in the face of seasonal distractions.

Making slump-times sensational:

  1. Make time for play. Whether it’s a group trip for snow cones, or a staff super soaker battle, capitalize on the fact that summer months can be quieter for some industries. Breaks for fun recharge your brain and give your team a block of time to socialize that isn’t disruptive to work. Plus, who isn’t pumped to come to work in July if ice cream is on the menu?
  2. Encourage vacations. While some company cultures promote working to the bone (“last one with their office light on wins!”) this typically results in burned-out, stressed-out team members. Send your employees on vacation. And when their packed Griswold Family Truckster leaves town, leave them alone. Pinging them non-stop while they’re trying to unwind and reconnect with their family is not cool.
  3. Host contests and incentives. Friendly competitions that reward winners with a day off or a gift card are great motivation boosters. Give a prize to the server who sells the most desserts in a week or an employee who receives the most positive customer feedback in a month.

Heading off the “holi-daze:”

  1. ‘Tis the season for giving. With food drives and adopt-a-family programs, the holidays present opportunities galore to give back to the community. Volunteering together has a positive impact on team building, employee retention and public perception of your brand.  
  2. Lights Out. Depending on your industry, it may make sense to give your employees off the Wednesday before or Friday after Thanksgiving rather than turn the lights on for a skeleton crew or a group that’s counting the minutes ‘til five o’clock. A long weekend gives your team something to look forward to while they’re tackling a project.
  3. Reward your rockstars. If you’re in retail or the hospitality industry, the holidays are peak times for your business. It’s prime time to recognize employees who are crushing sales targets or covering shifts for their co-workers who are traveling.

If all else fails, tell them Santa’s watching!

Making March less maddening:

  1. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Employees are likely sneaking a peek of the games on their mobile devices or following their #12 seed alma mater’s journey to greatness on their desktop anyway. Setting aside some staff time to watch games together may be better in the long run than micromanaging everyone, because happy employees are ultimately more productive employees.
  2. Work hard, play harder. Channel bracket mania to your advantage. Set a goal and have your employees compete as individuals or department-based teams. Name your teams, pick mascots, and post the bracket in a visible place. Reward those who advance to the finals, and couple this with a company-sponsored viewing party of the NCAA National Championship game.

At Patrick Payroll we love to come alongside businesses and motivate them to thrive, not just survive. If you’d like to learn more about how we can be in your corner, schedule a time to talk to us.