While the temperatures may still be in a flux and some parts of the US are still even experiencing snow flurries, the arrival of Memorial Day typically signals the start of summer. Now, this summer might not look like the summers of yesteryear, especially if everyone is still masked up and sheltering in place, but in the event that it does go back to business as usual, it is now more important than ever to let your employees know that they are appreciated, and what better way to show it than to offer a few seasonal perks.
Below, we’ve outline just a few fun things you can implement at your company to honor the summer season:
Chances are, you’ve had it up the wazoo with flex time and alternative schedules in the wake of the pandemic. However, employees sincerely appreciate being given a flexible schedule in the warmer months so that they can enjoy all that the season has to offer. Whether its pursuing outdoor hobbies, spending additional time with their families (which admittedly, is seeming less desirable on the back of this quarantine!), or simply soaking up the sun, it proves to employees that you value their work-life balance. Now, we aren’t suggesting that you cut every employee’s hours short; rather, you can have them opt to work an extra hour Monday – Thursday to gain every other Friday off, or do the same to earn a half day each Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Time off together:
Now, this one might be hard to pull off, but hear us out. When an employee takes vacation, they usually come home to a mountain of emails from their coworkers who were busy toiling away at their desks while their coworker was having fun under the sun. However, if the whole office took a break at the same time, everyone would have a chance to relax and unwind without fearing a return to their email inbox! Again, this one might not be feasible for many businesses and may be particularly tricky to pull off given that many people’s vacation plans are in flux due to the pandemic but it is one of those ideas that if you could pull off, could be really wonderful for your business.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch but maybe you should consider it from time to time! Arranging for an ice cream truck to swing by the office every other week is a super festive way to show your appreciation, but you also can’t go wrong with a pizza party, a weekly smoothie break, or even just a good ol’ fashioned bagel breakfast. Don’t think you can swing it on your post-covid budget? Not a problem, consider arranging a pot-luck lunch for employees, with bonus points awarded if you can come up with cute summer themes to keep it festive (such as a July 4 picnic, Fire and Ice, beach party, backyard BBQ, and Hawaiian luau).
Relax your dress code:
In a recent survey, a more relaxed summer clothing policy was the third most popular employee perk, trailing only flexible schedules and “summer Fridays” out of the office. Now, telling folks what they can wear is always a bit of a prickly area, but provided you have your policy in writing, you enforce it equally across the board, and you explain the consequences of failing to comply with the policy, you should remain on the right side of the law. That being said, we do recommend that in writing up your dress code, you be very specific about what is and isn’t appropriate (to the point of dictating parameters for dress and short hemlines and even the width of sleeveless shirt straps) and that you consider the environment in which you can work. If your employees are responsible for lifting heavy objects, it would be unwise to allow flip flops as it could prevent a significant safety issue. Again, emphasize that your employees should still retain their professional appearance, but that the rules are being relaxed for their comfort in the warmer months.
A fun way to not only amp up the summer fun, but also to foster relationships between coworkers, is to host a summer series of sorts. Create a calendar with a date for an employee picnic, perhaps an outdoor adventure day, or simply just a few dates where you’ll get together as a group and go out for lunch. Again, these outings don’t have to be terribly expensive or fancy, but they should be an adventure that each employee is able to participate in (so there goes your plan for a summer bungee jumping outing!) and it should provide an opportunity for workers to mingle, form connections, and most importantly, have a little fun!