June 14, 2016
The summer brings about many challenges for both employers and employees. The longer days, warmer weather, and reduced staff numbers are an annual occurrence that managers need to factor in; 2016 also brings a particularly exciting season of sport. High profile events such as Wimbledon, Euro 2016 and the Olympics are already upon us, with many of the events taking place during working hours. Research from Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services suggests that 1 in 5 people say they typically feel the least motivated during summer or when there is a sporting event taking place. Managers need to combat this in order to maintain productivity levels throughout the summer – but how can this be achieved? And how can they use the opportunity presented by the Summer of sport to build closer relationships with employees that will have longer term benefits for the business than the immediate challenges they present?
With many employees wanting to enjoy the sport and the chance of sunshine, managers should consider how they can combat the lack of focus that creeps in during the summer months. By harnessing the interest and positivity of the sporting season, businesses have an opportunity to provide cost-effective rewards and office perks to keep employees motivated.
Businesses should consider offering staff flexible working hours to allow them to watch sport that occurs during working hours. Not only will this allow staff to enjoy the activity but it is an inexpensive and easy to implement perk which can go a long way towards increasing motivation levels. If flexible working isn’t a possibility, providing a means for staff to watch the sport – whether this is on an office TV or allowing staff to go to a big outdoor screen – is a good compromise which will also encourage individuals to engage with colleagues that they may otherwise not, helping to strengthen office culture.
Introducing these small but significant perks will help boost motivation during the annual summer slump. Managers will see an improvement to staff morale as, initiatives can help demonstrate that a business understands what its employees want, creating a feeling of loyalty.
Motivating the masses
To ensure that all staff are motivated during the summer months, managers also need to consider the motivation of employees that are not interested in sport and ensure they are incentivised in equal measure. Flexible working hours are equally as effective for working parents who are looking to spend time with children on school holidays, or for those simply looking to make the most of the sunny weather. Another easy and cost effective perk is to offer early finishes and extended lunch breaks on certain days during summer months. Organising fun, free events that employees can attend as a team is another alternative way of rewarding staff, and encourages more social interaction between teams and departments. Any creative idea can be turned into a benefit but the key to ensuring the perk is well received lies in how the benefit is promoted internally to staff; if the idea is not well received then there is little point in introducing it.
Implementing a benefit
Whilst there are many different ways of rewarding and motivating employees, the best way to maintain productivity throughout the summer is to engage with employees and understand what it is that motivates them. A benefit or reward is only considered as such if the employee considers it to be so. Therefore, for a manager, understanding their team is critical.
With a large number of time and cost effective perks on offer, implementing new rewards for employees this summer need not break the bank. The sporting events are a fun way to bring an office together and socialise, whilst also being an effective way for managers to maintain productivity levels in a period where many employees are distracted and glancing enviously at the window or TV screen.
Jamie Mackenzie is Director of Marketing, Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services