It happens every year. First the weather begins to warm, then the days get longer and before you know it the kids are out of school for three months. It’s officially summertime in Charleston, this beautiful city that we are lucky to call home and that was even voted the number one city in the world! Aside from being a highly desired tourist destination, Charleston’s business economy is also booming. There are a number of thriving businesses that operate here, from small startups and mom & pop shops to very large global organizations; new businesses are established here every year. One of the most appealing things about Charleston for employers and employees alike is the lifestyle that everyone here chooses to live. People in Charleston work hard, but they also like to play hard and take advantage of the endless activities and opportunities that this wonderful city offers. Are you doing everything you can to take advantage of the summer months? While this post is aimed at employers and what they can do to make this summer great for their teams, I challenge everyone to take notes and take these ideas back to your organizations.
Employers, are you letting your team members enjoy their summer or are you running them ragged? As a leader, it’s incredibly important to let your teams recharge — and what better time to do that than over the summer? I promise that implementing a few small changes over the summer will go a long way with your entire team. Here’s a list of things you can do to help your teams recharge.
Flexible Work Hours
We all know that most businesses run a little slower over the summer, so why not let your teams change up their work hours for a few months? Let your teams work flexible hours; perhaps they normally work 9 to 5, but during the summer 7 to 3 would be ideal. If you don’t have the time to deal with the headache of scheduling and ensuring coverage, have your team do it! I guarantee they will come up with a plan that works.
Four Day Work Weeks
I know what you are thinking… But just like flexible work hours, you could easily put this back on your team to work out the logistics. If you are a company that can be closed for an entire day, then maybe you have your team work longer hours Monday through Thursday (four 10 hour days) and in return, no one works on Fridays. If being closed for an entire day isn’t feasible, maybe you could have half days on Fridays. Perhaps half the team has off on Mondays and the other half has off on Fridays. There are a million ways to make four day work weeks possible if you are open to some “outside the box” thinking, and remember, it’s just for a few months — unless of course you are gunning for bosslady or bossman of the year! Giving your team an extra day on their weekends will be sure to make you popular amongst your team and it will also make them want to work harder for you when they are in the office.
Totally Unplugged Vacations
In our world today, it’s nearly impossible to go a few hours without checking emails, social media or the news, but when a member of your team is taking a vacation, be sure to stress to them the importance of unplugging and truly separating from work for the duration of their time off. Whether their vacation is a “staycation,” a short weekend trip or an excursion to the Australian outback, time away from work is important and being offline and unplugged will truly help your team reenergize and come back to work ready to crush it for you and your business. Oh, and don’t forget, bosslady or bossman, when you vacay with your family, you should unplug also! This will not only be appreciated by your family, but you’ll also find that when you return to work you will be recharged and ready to tackle any obstacle thrown your way.
Relax the Dress Code
It’s summertime and the livin’s easy as they say, so why not ease up on the business casual dress code? It’s time to let your team members wear flip flops, shorts and open-toed shoes! Put trust in your team members that they will know when they have a big meeting or a client lunch and will know when to wear their Sunday best. Trust your team’s judgement and let them be free to embrace their summer wardrobes. If that’s a little too risky for you, set some ground rules such as: no t-shirts, shorts must be an appropriate length, no tank tops, definitely no mank tops (yup, that’s a man tank top), and no pajamas or gym clothes. Those guidelines should pretty much cover it, and what better way to show your team you care than giving them the freedom of fashion during the summer months? The best part about this is that it costs you absolutely nothing, you may even consider changing the dress code for good.
Celebrate & Appreciate
Since summer months tend to be slow for many businesses, take advantage of this down time and treat your team and their families to some fun activities this summer! Create memories with your team, engage their families, and take care of your number one asset: your talent. A little employee appreciation can go a long way. Need some ideas of what to do around the Lowcountry? Don’t worry, we have you covered! Here’s a quick list your friends at OneinaMil have compiled for you: kayaking, paddle-boarding, boat charters, a Riverdogs game, a food truck day at the office, a company picnic at one of the county parks, or even a BBQ at work one night! Want to beat the Charleston heat? Here’s some less outdoorsy ideas: try an indoor trampoline facility, a “bring your family” movie night at a local theater, host a day at the aquarium, or have an ice cream/popsicle truck visit the office (bonus points for boozy pops!). The opportunities are endless and they don’t have to cost a fortune. Figure out what your talent loves to do and make it happen.
As leaders, it is your job to set the tone and create the culture for your organization. So ask yourself, what culture are you creating? The concept is so simple, it’s baffling that so many organizations can’t get it right. Listen carefully: take care of your people and they will take care of you. I’ve shared some simple and affordable ideas to use this summer that will show your team they are appreciated; can you implement some of these into your company tomorrow? Remember, these concepts don’t only have to apply to the summer months; consider making some permanent changes if they seem to be working! Give a little and you will get a lot; show your team how much you care.