The Benefits of the Barbecue

The Benefits of the Barbecue

The dog days of summer provide employers with a great opportunity to show their employees some appreciation, why not with a good ole’ company picnic?! In today’s workforce climate, we are constantly reading articles and hearing horror stories warning us of what “not to do” when it comes to appropriately engaging with your employees. However, cultivating and maintaining strong relationships with and amongst your employees should still be a goal. Making certain that no lines are crossed, there are countless benefits to letting your employees know how much the are valued:

Higher Levels of Morale – Happy employees are simply more fun to work with. Picnics are known for boosting spirits and providing a much-needed break. The positive and uplifting pause in the daily grind is bound to put a smile on the face of even the most negative of employees.

Higher Levels of Productivity – High morale leads to higher levels of productivity. When an employee feels good about the organization they work for, they are in turn going to be more loyal and produce more quality work. Long term loyalty is invaluable and putting your employees first on these appreciation days is a no brainer when it comes to the pay off.

Builds Teamwork – Consider having team-themed games. What better way to work on working together than with classic races and games which require building trust and relying on one another?

Learning New Things – A chance for you to get to know your employees in a more casual and relaxed setting, take the time to mingle! With guards down, you may learn new things about your employees such as senses of humor, fun quirks, and hidden talents.

Take advantage of the warm summer months and throw a company picnic or barbecue! These get togethers seem to be a thing of the past, but think back to the last one you went to. Burgers and hotdogs on the grill, watermelon and cupcakes, and often with entertainment such as balloon animals, face painting, or a bouncy house for the kids. Happy memories, right?

Letting your employees know how much they are valued is a vital part of managing a business. These picnics or low key get togethers can really bring individuals and their families together, ensuring a safe and PG way for your employees to bond and build camaraderie, while feeling that their employer cares enough about them and their families to provide them with such an event.

Summer Slackin’

With the World Cup in full swing and the season of summertime vacations and trips starting up with a fervor, you may experience the occasional wayward employee. Some industries have a rougher time at this than others (e.g., retail or food service), but when it comes to employee attendance, particularly in peak time off season, it is vital to be proactive in preventing issues with excessive absences and tardies before it becomes a problem.

In our last post, we discussed some ways to help keep your employees motivated and engaged, particularly with summertime distractions such as sporting events and upcoming vacations. While this is incredibly important, it is equally essential to communicate expectations, provide flexibility, and keep employees engaged by implementing summertime activities.

When it comes to communication, remind all employees of what is expected of them with regards to attendance. Provide them with a copy of your attendance policy (via email or in person) so there they are fully aware of what your expectations are and what the consequences may be should they violate this policy.

Try to work with your employees when it comes to workloads and providing flexibility to ensure a balance in the job getting done and your employees staying sane (because we all need a break from time to time!). If the position and business needs warrant it, consider allowing telecommuting during slower times or when the days are incredibly warm and uncomfortable.

Rather than fighting the potential chaos that summer can create (think 5 employees wanting the same week off, but you can only approve 2 of those vacation requests), embrace it and try to implement some fun summer activities to keep your employees happy and motivated. Company picnics, mixers, team sporting events, or simply giving out ice cream bars on the hot summer days encourages camaraderie and boosts spirits.

It is natural to want to be outside when the weather is nice versus cooped up in an office, working away in front of a computer screen (for managers and employees alike). Working with your employees to come up with mutually beneficial solutions will help ensure that production needs are met and that the morale of your employees stays high.

The World Cup and Wayward Employees

Today marks the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, soccer’s biggest event which occurs only once every four years. The most popular sport in the world, there will likely be a few football (soccer) fans throughout your office that may be somewhat distracted over the next month. Especially with matches occurring in the wee hours of the morning in the States, employees may be sleep deprived coming to work, or sneaking in a match or two on their computer.

We are all human and all have days that are more productive than others, but a great employee knows how to balance those days where your nose is to the grindstone with those that are a bit more low key and relaxing and may be riddled with distractions. Whether the distraction be a large sporting event, a vacation or leave of absence, or family drama, we will all experience disturbances to our normal routine from time to time. Employees who once produced exceptional work and were motivated and engaged may go through a spell of being a “skater,” doing the bare minimum to make it to the next payday unnoticed.

June also marks the start of summer, a season that is notorious for a rise in call ins and absences, and nonchalant employees have mentally checked out. Whether it is World Cup frenzy that has your employees itching to be in a pub with a beer in hand, or an individual whose mind is already swinging in a hammock at the beach, making sure that your employees stay on track is vital.

When you know there will be factors that may contribute to the attention and engagement of your employees, prepare accordingly by communicating expectations and implementing means for flexibility. Communicating expectations is a crucial component in any successful relationship, and informing your employees of what you need from them on a regular basis is key in ensuring production standards are met, and levels of employee morale and motivation remain high.

Work with your employees on effective time management techniques to ensure deadlines don’t land on the day before an employee is scheduled to be gone for a week. Encourage them to schedule tasks appropriately so when they return, they aren’t overwhelmed with a long list of time-sensitive tasks when bouncing back from vacation can be a challenge.

Follow along in our next post when we delve further into a primary cause for distracted employees, summer fever, and how managers can effectively prevent this common occurrence before it becomes an issue that affects production and morale.

Self-Motivation: Escaping the Heat

Here in Oregon, we are currently experiencing a record-breaking heat wave, with temperatures ranging between 100 and 110 degrees for the majority of the work week. A state notorious for rain and dreary weather, Oregonians are certainly not used to working and playing in the oven in which we find ourselves in.

When all we want to do is find a way to beat the heat, (whether that be playing hooky and heading to the coast, heading to the mountains to go for a nice, cool swim, or planting ourselves on the sofa to binge watch a show on Netflix, sequestered in a house with air conditioning) it can be incredibly difficult to stay motivated and focused on our work.

Self-motivation is key in times like this. At the end of the day, it is not our boss’ job to keep us on track when all we want to do is put the computer to sleep and head out (honestly, they would probably love to do that as well). That responsibility falls on us. So how do you do it? How do you motivate yourself to stay professionally stimulated during these waves of discouragement?

  • Maintain a Positive Attitude – When there seems to be more factors working against you than not, it is critical to stay optimistic. Try to see the positive in the slew of bad and put forth an effort to place an emphasis on those variables; what you have and what is good versus what is lacking and seemingly going wrong.
  • Set Small Goals – For most of us, these phases are short lived. As such, set short, easily attainable objectives during these funks to help you succeed. Working on projects and goals to get you through these motivational humps, and establishing a reward for when you accomplish those goals, keeps you focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Reach Out a Helping Hand – Helping others stay motivated is a great way to hold yourself accountable. When you see how well others are doing, it is easier to follow suit. Additionally, when we help others with their work, or with achieving their own goals, those feelings of self-worth help boost our own levels of self-esteem and confidence in our own abilities.
  • Give Yourself Breaks – On the flip side to keeping busy, make certain you factor in some breaks and time for self-care. Especially in times when we feel our motivation faltering, one of the worst things we can do is push ourselves too far to the point of a major burnout. Take 15 minutes to read or go for a quick walk, meet a friend for lunch, or do something that you enjoy that rejuvenates your spirit.

Particularly when there are a million other things you’d rather be doing, making it a point to stay focused and motivated at work will positively impact not only you, but your colleagues and coworkers as well. Staying positive, helping others, establishing short goals, and making time for revitalizing breaks are all ways to help you stay on track during the lulls of summer.

Summer Lovin’

Gillian and Steve knew of one another, working for the same bank but in different departments, but hadn’t had a chance to converse in a non-professional setting until a weekend barbeque a mutual friend arranged for a group of her coworkers. After some drinks and casual conversation, Gillian and Steve had hit it off and over the next few weeks, engaged in a romantic relationship. Everything was going well until Steve’s attention was directed to another, having viewed the relationship as more of a fling. Gillian was less than pleased and proceeded to spread rumors at work, creating an uncomfortable working environment for anyone who had to interact with the two.

With more and more couples meeting at work, workplace romances may pop up at any time of year, but are especially abundant during the summer months with barbeques and other warm-weather activities presenting opportunities for employees to get together in casual settings. This time of year, reinforcing your policies pertaining to fraternization and appropriate conduct can mean the difference between a healthy team environment and one full of unproductive drama and gossip.

Avoiding these issues in paramount, and while it is near impossible to prevent workplace romances from occuring, ensuring that there are rules in place to prevent problems from arising is key. Ensure that your policies address relationships between supervisors and their subordinates and detail what is and is not appropriate conduct (including displays of affection, gossip and unproductive conversation, poor performance, and sharing confidential information).

Apply policies in a consistent manner and have in place a process for dealing with situations when things go wrong. Ideally, a conversation reminding both parties of policies pertaining to appropriate conduct will suffice, but when resentment still lingers and affects productivity, do not hesitate to take action. Administering appropriate disciplinary action may be what it takes to prevent the situation from escalating into a more serious case, such as sexual harassment or workplace violence.

While most summer flings come and go without a hitch, some can result in persisting bitterness and anger. Ensure that your policies and plans are in place to tackle any issues head on, and make certain that this is communicated effectively with your employees to allow them with the information to make responsible decisions for themselves.