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Five Ways to Bring a Little Summer Fun to the Workplace

May 25th, 2012

There’s a time to crack down on employees and a time to cut them slack. A time to be grim and serious, and a time to allow a little clowning around. And that time is now. When the early summer arrives and fun is in the air, employees become distracted and managers often react by going into overdrive. Memos are passed around, for example, reiterating the dress code. “As a reminder, sandals are NOT to be worn in the office!” “We know the baseball game is coming this Friday, so be warned: Employees may NOT leave early!” etc, etc. This approach, while understandable and effective in some workplace cultures, is usually not the best way to maintain productivity.

If you really want employees to stay dedicated, loyal, and engaged with their projects, now is the time to acknowledge the power of the season and yield to human nature. As always, we gain respect by giving respect, and the summer offers a great opportunity to do this without losing valuable time and capital that you wouldn’t have lost anyway. Here are a few ideas for summer fun that may seem relaxed and conducive to, dare we say it, wasted time. But look closer. Fun activities like these can boost office morale and keep wandering minds in focus during the long summer months ahead.

1. Ice cream social! Take the whole team down the street one afternoon for an ice cream break. Get them out of the air conditioned office and change the conversation for an hour or two.

2. Take some Frisbees to the park! Schedule a “park day” in which interested employees can leave the office at 3:30 for an afternoon of grass, sun, and tossing a ball around. Again, it encourages employees to get to know each other on a relaxed level. And (shhh) it’s actually a casual round of team-building and morale-boosting disguised as fun.

3. Field trip! Do you work in a publishing house? Schedule a field trip to the printing press to see another side of your industry. Do you work in a law firm? Organize a trip to city hall. A restaurant? Go visit a farm where your ingredients are sourced. Everybody loves an outing, and an old fashioned field trip brings out the curious inner child in all of us.

4. Fun with dress codes! If you don’t have a casual Friday, implement one, at least for the duration of the summer. Schedule theme days like Hawaiian shirt day or local sports team jersey day. Sound corny? Then you’re on the right track. The cornier, the better.

5. Happy hour check! How are your Friday happy hours? Popular and well attended, or lame-to-non-existent? Take them up a notch. Choose friendly, nearby venues that fit your workplace culture and encourage both employees and managers to attend.

For more help with summertime morale-boosting and team-building, contact the HR staffing pros at Merritt Staffing. No matter what events you plan, it’s never a bad idea to indulge your sun-struck employees and show your fun side now and then. Over the long term, you won’t regret it. Invest in your employees and they’ll invest in you.

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