Top tips to motivate your team this summer
With the current turmoil in the UK as a result of Brexit and general uncertainty in the workplace, especially for EU workers, it's more important than ever before for businesses to offer reassurance to their employees.
Especially over the summer, lots of people will be taking holidays, and when they arrive back at work, they're likely to suffer from the post-holiday blues. They may be wondering how they can keep going without another holiday until the Christmas break.
The exemplary boss will know how to reward and energise their employees, but no-one is perfect, and even the model employer can sometimes overlook the obvious.
When people will be coming and going taking their summer breaks, it's more important than ever to make a plan to keep everything on track.
If one person has to take on a double work load, or there is no structure when someone else is absent, those left in the office can feel frustrated and unappreciated. Sharing goals and having clear expectations and boundaries will allow people to feel freer, enabling autonomy and a greater feeling of shared ownership.
Step out of the comfort zone
When other people are on holiday, it's the ideal time for colleagues to step into their shoes and stretch themselves.
Ignoring this opportunity will mean frustration and unnecessary stress for the person on holiday, who will have to cope with the extra work load when they get back and it could also mean a motivational opportunity lost for someone to gain different experience and learn new skills.
The continuity factor
Regular communication with members of staff can boost motivation, whether it's communication about how your organisation is prospering or an email to keep them informed of any changes, or to congratulate them verbally or in writing on a recent achievement.
Regular communication is the key to continuity in the workplace and a feeling of confidence in the employee.
Beware knocking down the builders
There are going to be many different character traits across your teams. Those that we call 'builders' enjoy an above-average standard of living and are driven by targets and high achievement.
Overlooking performance-related pay, bonuses or the opportunity to exceed goals and targets might not only de-motivate your 'builder' - they might jump ship and you'll be looking at the cost and inconvenience of recruiting a new member of staff.
Never overlook exceptional talent
During the summer your workforce may face the ups and downs of pre and post-holiday moods. Be extra careful to not feed the holiday blues by forgetting to recognise good performance.
The 'stars' in your team thrive on public recognition and you would do well not to overlook them, particularly at a time when they may be more vulnerable than usual.
Take a chance on change
When it's lovely and sunny outside, it can sometimes be hard to concentrate and feel motivated sitting at a desk all day.
Don't assume that if you let people have meetings outside in the fresh air that they won't perform as well or won't concentrate on the job in hand. Change can often bring about bright and new ideas, and such a small concession is much more likely to be beneficial than risky.
Don't ignore fun
When the days and daylight hours are at their longest in the summer, don't make the mistake of ignoring the opportunity to have fun at work.
Social activities, inter-team or inter-department challenges and competitions can be a great motivator and can increase morale and improve working relationships. You could even extend the socialising to include suppliers and customers and help unlock potential and grow your business.
We never quite know in the UK when the next heatwave may come, but when it does, employees need to work in a comfortable temperature.
So, have fans ready, if you don't have air conditioning, and relax the dress code so people can wear more casual, cool clothes. You could even stretch to providing ice cool drinks, encouraging an ice cream run, or allowing people to start work earlier in the cooler part of the day.
Working over the summer holidays can be difficult for working parents, and if you can see your way to being as flexible as possible over this period, it could mean less stress for those employees if you can let them arrive or leave work later or earlier, or take a shorter lunch hour to help them with their family commitments.
They are likely to be more motivated by a considerate employer.
Encourage a holiday
Everyone deserves a holiday, and it's really important to make sure you encourage every employee to take one. Of course it doesn't have to be over the summer, but having a break from work is likely to reduce stress and improve motivation and productivity.
Carole Gaskell is Founder and Managing Director of Full Potential Group, a top leadership and talent development firm. The company has developed over 300,000 people in over 1,000 organisations, including companies such as Nationwide, Tesco, Heinz, United Utilities and Diabetes UK.