The weather is getting warmer and summer is just around the corner! Employees have worked hard all year and are looking forward to recharging. What can employers do to show they care (and keep productivity proportionate to the rise in temperatures)?
1. Relax dress codes.
Many companies have adopted a business casual dress code all year round. Goldman-Sachs implemented a relaxed dress policy this past March, staying hip to the times and mindful of a younger workforce. But when the weather gets hot, the clothing becomes sparse. Does “casual” have limits? Consider spaghetti straps, cold shoulder tops, sandals, flip flops, jeans, shorts and capris. Tattoos are generally covered in colder months with pants and long-sleeved shirts – do you still require them to be covered up in the summer? What style of dress makes the “appropriate for work” list? Despite some potential violations of dress code policies, having the ability to “dress down” makes employees feel happy and more relaxed. And happy employees are more productive.
Here are a few of our recommendations:
Include a summer dress code policy in your handbook that is specific and in line with your particular industry.
Be sure to apply the policy equally across all employees and be clear about the consequences of violating it.
You may want to list out the clothing that is prohibited to relieve the guesswork for all employees. If you will allow tattoos, specify which can be flaunted and which need to be kept under wraps.
Get employee input – what articles of clothing would be offensive or frowned upon if worn by their co-workers?
Keep in mind that most employees will use good judgment and save the beachwear for vacations. It doesn’t hurt, however, to give reminders now and then about dressing more professionally as needed, particularly when interacting with clients.
2. Offer flexible hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day).
Contrary to what some may believe, research does not support the idea that employee productively declines if summer hours are offered.
- A few options to consider:
- Close early on Fridays
- Make Fridays half days If every Friday isn’t an option, then try every other Friday.
- Offer a full day off during every workweek or every other.
- Embrace the four, 10-hour day workweek schedule to allow employees a longer weekend, more time to spend with family and friends, run errands, or just a day to relax and enjoy the weather.
Choosing the day can work if employees notify managers of their schedules in advance and arrange for coverage when out.
3. Permit remote work.
If your business is such that you need all hands-on deck daily, then consider allowing employees to work from home one day per week. Even though employees are still working, they can avoid a traffic jammed commute and enjoy time with families and friends sooner.
4. Schedule outings and events.
Maybe it is an informal gathering of employees for a happy hour or picnic at a local community park. It could also be a larger event such as a baseball game, outdoor festival, or a concert. Doing something fun during off work hours can help increase morale and build better teams.
5. Treat employees.
Get a food or cupcake truck, host a farmer’s market on site, treat employees to water ice, ice cream, smoothies or iced coffee. Have a summer themed potluck in the office – make it a time for people to shift their focus away from work and mingle with each other. Even small gestures can signal to your employees that you value them.