Leading Through the Summer Months

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By Dr. Sabrina Brandon Ricks, SBR Workplace Leadership Services

It can feel challenging to feel like you are cooped up in the office over summer months when the kids are out of school and by the pool and you see the beautiful sun as you drive into work for the day.  Yes, work still has to be completed over the summer.  Serving in a leadership capacity can be daunting because employees are turning to you to provide guidance while keeping a positive and exciting atmosphere that is a delight to work in.  You can still find ways to relish the nice summer days and be as productive as you are all year long.  Here are a few ways to enjoy the summer months while remaining professional and productive:

#1 – Rearrange the Office

If you have desks and seating areas that are not exposed to windows, rearrange the furniture in such a way that everyone can experience the sunshine.  If your windows have blinds and/or curtains, ensure they are open so that the sunlight can stream into the area.  The access to windows can lighten the mood in the atmosphere.  If your office space does not offer a lot of natural lighting, add TV monitors that offer screen savers or a slide deck of pleasant sunny days and beautiful fields of flowers that your employees and clients can see.  Again, this will lighten the mood and create a welcoming atmosphere.

#2 – Add Plants/Flowers

This is a great time of year to keep live, fresh plants and/or flowers in the office.  It is a welcoming and refreshing addition to the office space that can lift the mood and lighten the day even when it is a busy and intense day of work.  Assign someone or create a schedule for watering and tending to the plants in order to keep them alive and healthy.  You may have to replace them once or twice over the summer if they wilt or die out.  Regardless, the upkeep is minimal and it brightens the mood in the workplace.

#3 – Take Breaks/Lunch Outdoors

Find a shady area near your workplace and offer breaks or lunches in that area.  You might set up a few tables, add plants, have an outdoor fan, and offer utensils and condiments for employees to have a break outside to soak up some vitamin D and rejuvenate before coming back inside to complete the work day.  If it is not too hot outside, you may even allow employees to work outside in a shady area.  This option can offer more general workspace (depending on the privacy levels of your company), boost morale, and increase the overall mood of the work atmosphere.

#4 – Have a Fun Game Day

Offer one or more days over the summer where employees come together for a friendly game or competition.  You might consider corn hole, kick ball, flag football, checkers, chess, spades, video game day, or a combination of offerings.  It is better if the games can be played outdoors.  Maybe your company can order/rent a few tents and have everyone take an extended lunch break or end the workday early and reward the team with a game day.  It is best if this event is held during work hours so that it does not feel like extra work but a reward for having already worked hard.  Advertise this in advance so that it gives everyone something positive to chat about and to look forward to.

Working during the summer does not have to feel painful; it can be relaxing and uplifting if leadership adds special touches to the workspace that make it a pleasant and desirable place.

Contact SBR Workplace Leadership Services to learn more about summer work relief and for additional training topics related to management, leadership, and teamwork. Also, contact SBR if you need a consultant to design customized sessions for your organization regarding other topics.

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