The weather heats up, business slows, and employee productivity drops, its summertime. So, how can you get productivity back up to par? Many businesses have found offering low-cost summer perks is a great way to increase productivity, morale, and overall employee happiness. There are so many perks that can be offered, here is a list of 50! I thought it would be helpful to point out a few of the most popular ideas and how they can work in your office.
Not surprising, the most favored perks have to do with time spent in (or out of) the office, flexible hours and summer Fridays. Some others are oldies but goodies such as catered lunches (free food!) and office sponsored events. These can come in all shapes and sizes to fit different business needs and preferences.
Flexible hours can mean a lot of different things, this could mean letting your employees work from home a few days a week, letting them work over time to earn extra vacation, or simply shifting the hours to work outside the core 9-5. This gives your employees more freedom and choice in when and where they work. If someone needs to leave a little bit early to pick up their kids from swim lessons, they will be more focused in the morning knowing that they will be on time. Some employees find working from home less distracting, especially if they have a home office, they can shut the door during working hours, but still enjoy lunch with their kids who are off on summer break. Sometimes work needs to be done during traditional business hours, if this is the case allowing occasional telecommuting may be the best option. If you need your employees in the office 9-5, keep reading for some other options.
Summer Fridays are really catching on, but they don’t always mean the same thing. Some offices let their employees earn time off on Fridays by working extra hours the other four days of the week, others have paid Friday afternoons off, and some shut down the office all together on Fridays. Obviously the latter is least cost efficient but consider the money you save on utilities! Giving employees even one afternoon off every two weeks can reduce stress and boost productivity. Employees are able to spend more time relaxing and/or with family so they can come to work on Monday refreshed and ready to go.
Make note that there are legal considerations here. Work in collaboration with your HR department to make sure that exempt employee hours are handled properly as to not incur overtime. A modified work schedule policy may be in order such as: http://www.shrm.org/templatestools/samples/policies/pages/cms_012430.aspx.
Catered lunches and free food is always a good way to boost morale and encourage comradery in the office. This could be a lunch brought in daily, weekly, or monthly, or it could be small events such as ice cream socials, BBQs, or even a happy hour.
Some Bay Area businesses make this really easy, how about renting a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream truck or getting a mechanical bull for that BBQ? For something a little less extensive you could do a Potluck featuring delicacies from hot vacation spots, or an apple pie bake off!
Small surprise treats are a great way to bring people together and let your employees unwind mid-day so afterwards they are ready to focus.
Office events are kind of the catch all for other office perks. It could be as simple as themed dress code days, an office outing such as taking the team wine-tasting, bringing in a yoga instructor during lunch, or it could be discounts on events like baseball games or concerts. These can be small rewards or as big as zip-lining at Mt. Hermon or even a company trip to Great America! This option offers lots of flexibility and shows your employees you care.
Poolside Reads & Summer Blockbusters
Sometimes small gifts have a big impact. Consider gift cards for a new “beach read” with a print out of the newest books to hit the market in different genres. Amazon’s Hot List: http://www.amazon.com/gp/new-releases/books/ref=zg_bs_tab_t_bsnr .
How about concession stand and movie tickets for employee and their family? Movie Theater Discounts: https://www.amcnationalsales.com/bulk/splash.aspx or https://www.corporateboxoffice.com/
Creating a little fun and showing your employees you care can go a long way toward improving office morale this summer.