Ah man, it’s been a long winter. I found myself singing the Cranberries “Do you have to, Do you have to let it linger”. It just hung around way too long. I live in Memphis, TN, and we like it hot but March, April and even a couple nights in May we had to turn the heat on…the heat, people!
Anyway, finally we are all getting some warm weather, even my friends in Minnesota, Chicago and New York have thawed out. They say the winter of 2014 has cost the U.S. economy $15 billion dollars. Don’t take my word for it, read this article from NBC News titled “Financial Freeze: Winter Woes Cost the Economy $15 Billion”.
That’s a lot of scrilla (slang for money) – the school year was extended in many states to make up for some of the snow days which got me to thinking, how the winter will affect the workplace this summer. June, July, and August are huge vacation months which usually mean there are less people in the office. The remaining staff is asked to pick up the slack to accommodate time-off requests and now we will ask them to make up some of that last productivity during the winter.
Many industries experience a slow down during the summer based on customer demands. Although some others like retail, food service and hospitality experience a boom during the summertime.
Using my region again as an example, we are the distribution center of the South. If you come to visit Memphis, you will notice a lot of warehouse and general labor jobs. For instance, Federal Express is headquartered here and they want those packages moved 365 days of the year. Those warehouses and hubs get really hot, so FedEx has a short sleeve shirt and pants uniform policy for the summer, they also encourage frequent breaks, and maintenance on their vehicles to ensure the air conditioning is working properly.
Throughout my career I’ve worked in the office environment and we’ve always had different summer policies and procedures. The summer can drag on sometimes. It can make you beg for cooler temps. Those dress shirts and ties can get awfully sticky and stuffy. That’s why it’s important to relax and have fun at work especially in the summertime where tempers can spike as high as the mercury.
Here are 5 things you should consider for summertime workplace engagement
- Relax the Dress Code. You guessed it; let your people wear causal clothing. Short sleeves, no ties, comfortable shoes, even a dress down day. But don’t go too far some folks will show up in a bathrobe.
- Ice Cream Socials. Oh yes. Call up the ice cream shop; bring in some ice cream, sorbet, gelato or frozen yogurt. Hey let’s be honest here, people don’t grow up – they just get bigger – everyone loves ice cream.
- Outdoors Activities. Down south, it gets really hot between 3-6pm so If I was calling the shots, maybe at like 10am, 11am or 12, I’d schedule some outdoor activities. What kind of activity, well I don’t know, a meeting – brunch, non-alcoholic drinks or something to take advantage of the nice sunny weather before it gets too hot.
- Wellness. When you work in a hot environment it’s thoughtful to have cooling stations and hydration stands sprinkled about. Get your team some free bottled water, Gatorade, Powerade and maybe a few sodas and serve them, that’s always interesting.
- Have Some Fun. How about some office contests? Best non-offensive t-shirt day? Best cool dessert or treat recipe? If you are baseball town, take the team to a ballgame after work. I don’t like baseball, but our stadium is one of the nicest in the minor leagues and the corporate suites are fantastic.