How to Enjoy Summertime as a Team without Losing Productivity
Summertime is a great time for going on impromptu team outings and throwing team bonding events – because it’s hard to go wrong with any type of team activity when the weather is gorgeous and refreshing outside. However, since summertime = fun season, concerns about lost productivity often prevent leaders from seizing the season as much as they should.
Here are a few great ways to enjoy summer months as a team without taking a hit in productivity.
Make it a walking meeting
Encourage employees to take their meetings on the go. Grabbing a coworker and hammering out the details of a project while taking a walk outside offers a myriad of benefits for the employer:
- Integration of physical activity into the work day can improve overall employee health, reducing the occurrence of sick days and decreasing health insurance premiums
- Getting outside (and getting their eyes off of the monitor for a moment) can trigger neuropathways in the brain that contribute to creativity and innovation, which means employees might solve longstanding problems by simply stepping outside
- Walking improves circulation, which can offer employees improved blood flow throughout the body and subsequently, improved energy
- More open dialogue; Nilofer Merchant’s TED talk describes the elimination of hierarchal boundaries that occurs when executives and staff walk side by side
Plan your volunteer hours during the summer months
Enjoy summer months by scheduling your outdoor volunteer activities when the weather is just right. Highway or local park cleanup projects offer an opportunity to build camaraderie among team members, give back to your community, and enjoy the benefits of sunshine all at once.
But how does volunteering impact productivity? Research demonstrates a direct link between volunteering and engagement (and the link between engagement and productivity goes without saying). In fact, while less than 40% of employees report that their companies sponsor volunteer opportunities, 89% report that they would prefer to work for an organization that sponsors volunteer activities and over 75% report that they think volunteering is vital for employee well-being.
Take an ice cream break
Contact an ice cream truck in advance to request that they stop by during a scheduled break. Or if that’s not feasible, take a nice walk to a local ice cream shop, or bring an assortment of cold sweet treats to the office and invite team members to enjoy it outside in the sun. Whatever the plan, a small investment in something sweet, cold and smile-inducing on the hottest summer days is a great way to show appreciation for your team members in the name of summer. This is also a small enough summer treat that it won’t derail your team’s productivity.
Set up an outdoor meeting room or break room
A picnic table or a little patio furniture is all it takes to give employees the opportunity to change up their setting, get outside, and enjoy a quick meeting or even lunch under the sun and sky instead of rafters and sheetrock. The organizational benefits are many: nature turns off an employee’s stress response, stimulates reward neurons, and lowers blood pressure and heart rate, contributing to higher productivity and innovation.
Install a bike rack
Encourage employees to ride their bikes to work by giving them a secure place to park them (perhaps even under shelter from rain and inclement weather) when they get there. Some organizations even offer rental bikes to give their employees the opportunity to get some exercise and fresh air during their breaks or grab a bike to run their noon-hour errands.
Fresh air, routine exercise, and time away from the monitor improve rather than take away from productivity. It’ll also lead to outside-the-box thinking and more engaged team members – something worth thinking about for any company culture!