Summer is heating up, and so is the restlessness of your employees. You need to find a way to engage them and keep their head in the game. Giving your team top-level perks is one way to ensure they perform in the summer and keep the distractions at bay.
Summer hours, casual Fridays and outdoor activities can help your employees appreciate your company in the summer and help you retain them even if a better offer comes by. Using the summer to your advantage will allow you to provide your staff with all sorts of advantages they will enjoy, and will help increase the respect they have for you.
Below, 15 members of the Forbes Agency Council share some of the successful culture perks or bonding activities they typically implement in the summer to improve their teams’ creativity and productivity.
1. Summer Hours On Fridays
It’s not a radical idea in the agency world, but sometimes the best ideas are the tried-and-true ideas. We close our offices at 1 p.m. on Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Sometimes it makes the work week a bit more stressful, but on balance, that simple half day off seems to punch above its weight. And the net effect makes weekends seem much longer and more renewing. – Justin Daab, Magnani
2. Walking Meetings
Walking meetings are a great way to get out of the office and enjoy the nice weather while still being very productive. For your next meeting, consider taking it outside. It’s refreshing, helps inspire creativity and breaks up the day in a fun and healthy way. – Brad Williams, WebDevStudios
3. The Picnic Table
It is so simple yet powerful. Breaking bread has been shown to strengthen relationships, as well as give a feeling of stability and connectedness. We plan monthly team meals where we fire up the grill and eat outside around picnic tables on the back patio. It’s not uncommon to see team meetings and group discussions moved to the patio when the weather is nice. – Korena Keys, KeyMedia Solutions
4. Meditation, Retreats And Shutdown Days
Everyone knows we take meditations, retreat and shutdown days seriously — not just because of their positive benefit to society, but because they aid the process of flourishing for each team member. When each person on our team truly flourishes, it has a great impact on how we focus on our work of building happier flourishing Africans. And if you cannot meditate for one hour, meditate for two. – Chude Jideonwo, Joy, Inc.
5. Innovation Days
We try to dedicate one day a month in the summer to innovation and creative thinking — not work product. Usually, this leads us outdoors and into nature. We often hike, talk and take photos and generally enjoy the fresh air. It’s amazing how this changes our perspectives and keeps us fresh. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group
6. Press Releases By The Pool
One of the things we do is soak up some Vitamin D by hosting a “press releases by the pool” day for our team. We’ll have refreshing beverages, Texas barbecue and pool activities all afternoon. Company culture should never take a break, and playing to your strengths is important. When it’s routinely 100-plus degrees outside in Austin, Texas, not only is this a nice culture perk, it’s practically a necessity. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications
7. Work-From-Home Days
We rolled out a work-from-home policy every other Friday two summers ago and it was an instant hit. Employees, especially millennials, love the freedom to work where and when they want. We also found our employees achieved a lot on these days since most days were free of meetings. This day became a great “knock it out” day while providing the ability to work from your local park or schedule a personal appointment with more flexibility. – Simms Jenkins, BrightWave – North America’s Leading Email Marketing Agency
8. Monday Walk
People tend to dread coming into the office on Mondays. I am attempting to change that with a Monday afternoon walk. It breaks up the day, gets us outside and allows the team to bond. It also gives everyone something to look forward to (myself included). Thus far, it’s been a big success. – Aidan Cole, nTuitive.social
9. Airbnb Experiences
To say that summer in San Francisco is a bit chilly may be the understatement of the year. One way we beat the fog is to book an Airbnb experience. These experiences get us out of the office, collaborating and, most importantly, laughing. – Michaela Dempsey, Scout RFP
10. Special Party For Team, Clients, Family
Every summer around the 21st of June, we throw a party for our team, clients, friends and family. We work together to plan a meal and cook tacos for our guests, and we spend the rest of the evening celebrating a successful first half of the year. Guests tell us that it is one of the most unique events they’ve attended and our growing staff loves participating in the tradition. – Benjamin Collins, Laughing Samurai
11. Dedicated Remote Live/Work Space
Last year we opened the MODassic Outpost in Salida, CO which serves as remote live/work space where our employees can escape their daily routine. Our team is all in house, but we really value travel and getting away. We wanted to create a place where employees could get away and enjoy the mountains, river and town but still work and not have to use up their vacation time or spend money on hotels. – Ryan Short, MODassic Marketing
12. Summer Happy Hours
Our office is located in a cute beach town, and we especially try to take advantage of that during the summer. We typically pick a day during the week to do an office happy hour where we close the office early and walk to a nearby restaurant. I believe this makes my team more productive — having an outing to look forward to mid-week. Sometimes we even just opt for wine on the beach. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
13. Re-Energizing Outdoor Events
Summers for our team include an annual wiener roast and a couple of afternoons at the local Triple-A ballpark just up the road. We’ll take a break and toss a ball around outside ourselves now and then. And starting soon, we’ll hold a few outdoor meetings at a new downtown Metropark. A few of our team members take walks during lunch, and we can walk to nearby restaurants, too. – Scott Greggory, MadAveGroup
14. Global Bootcamps
Every July, our entire staff gets together for a three-day “bootcamp” held in a different global city each year. Think summer camp, but for adults. There are team-building exercises, inspirational talks and, of course, some good old-fashioned fun. It’s a time to get to know one another, recognize the team’s hard work and celebrate our accomplishments. Everyone leaves feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. – Heather Kernahan, Hotwire
15. Scavenger Hunt
We found a free app that allows you to do a fun and creative scavenger hunt around your neighborhood. It’s team building, economical and engaging as you can set up various tasks that are social, problem-solving and technical (depending on your staff makeup). We then use the budget for prizes and refreshments after the hunt. Think Amazing Race meets Photo Scavenger Hunt. – Darian Kovacs, Jelly Digital Marketing & PR