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Summer’s here, and so is a disengaged workforce

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Understaffed teams, employees leaving early, and flip-flops in the office: summer has begun. While the summer months tend to be a happy time for most with longer days and plenty of sunshine, for HR professionals they can be a challenge.

If you are struggling to keep your staff engaged on summer days, you’re not alone. A recent survey by OfficeTeam found that over a third of HR managers in the US feel employees are less productive during the summer months.

In addition to decreased productivity, not planning well for vacations (32%) and unexpected absences (22%) were identified as the most common negative employee behaviours at this time of year, ahead of dressing too casually (19%), sneaking in late or leaving early (15%), and being mentally checked out (12%).

OfficeTeam Summer Work Perks Infographic, hr

According to OfficeTeam, companies don’t have to suffer through the summer months. “Savvy companies maintain staff productivity and morale by embracing summer in the workplace,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, in a press release.

OfficeTeam offers managers five tips to help staff make the most of summer at work:

  1. Give employees more control over how they spend their time by offering flexible schedules and occasionally letting them leave early on Fridays. Just make sure policies are clear so business can continue as usual.
  2. Remind workers to take time off, and set an example by doing so yourself. Bring in temporary professionals to fill in during absences.
  3. Holding meetings outdoors or while taking a walk is a great way to get fresh air while accomplishing business objectives.
  4. Plan an ice cream break, picnic or group outing. Employees will appreciate being able to relax and bond with colleagues in a non-work setting.  
  5. Allow staff who aren’t customer- or client-facing to wear more casual attire, as long as it doesn’t detract from work. You might even consider instituting themed Fridays where Hawaiian shirts or sports apparel are encouraged.

While we’re not sure an outdoor meeting is the best idea in Hong Kong’s humid heat, we agree that acknowledging and embracing your employees’ summer mood could do wonders for their engagement.

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