Work Hard, Play Hard: How to Keep Your Team Motivated During the Summer Months
By Young Entrepreneur Council @yec on Inc.com
Josh York is the Founder and CEO of GYMGUYZ, an in-home mobile personal training company headquartered in Plainview, New York. Since its inception in 2008, Josh has been valued for his hands-on leadership style growing the business and profitability to more than 1000 clients, 45 employees and a fleet of vans in less than six years.
As the summer months heat up, everyone enjoys longer days and wants to spend more time outdoors. This change in seasons, however, can lead employees to feel tempted to sit on the beach or drink cocktails on a patio, rather than come to work in a cubicle.
As an in-home personal training company, I am always looking for new ideas to keep my employees engaged throughout the entire year. It’s not always easy to keep people motivated to complete their tasks, but I’ve narrowed it down to a few practices below that have proven to be successful for my team to remember the “work hard, play hard” mentality, even if the warm weather is tempting to them leave their desks and go outside.
Give Your Team the Time Off They Deserve
Beyond the beautiful weather, summer is also synonymous with vacations. The summer months are sandwiched between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, the 4th of July falls in the middle of it all, and a smattering of vacations are often scheduled as well. A cluster of holidays leads to more time off requests, and the best way to handle this reality is to plan ahead.
Business never stops to take a break, but everyone needs a vacation. In order to keep morale high, allow employees to take the time off that they need to recharge over the summer, and get back on track to remain productive when they return to work. It is important to communicate the need to schedule time off in advance, so the rest of the team can prepare for someone to be out of the office without being tied to their phone and email while on vacation. Our numbers have always remained consistent because people look out for each other and step in to lend a hand if and when someone is out.
Leave the Office
Everyone is familiar with mental block–the defeating feeling that no more tasks in the workday can possibly be accomplished. Usually, the answer is to step away from the current project, take a break, and get back to work with a clear mindset. When my team gets restless and longs to be outside during the summer, I don’t fight it. If being outside for a short time during the day will make my employees happier, I make it happen in order to refocus the group faster.
Since we’re a fitness brand, we like to split up into teams and play a quick game of volleyball or do some relay races. But regardless of how the time is spent, it doesn’t have to be physical. If your employees have a picnic, read a book, or go for a walk to catch up with a friend, giving them time to decompress mid-day makes the workday more productive in the long run.
Focus on Culture
“Culture” is a word that is tossed around the corporate world often, but what does it mean? In order for culture to be strong, it needs to represent not only the experience that the company offers to a client, but also what the company stands for internally. When an employee believes in the company culture, productivity will increase.
Every summer, I plan outings with my company to improve culture. It’s a time to get together, bounce ideas off each other, get the creative juices flowing and have fun. In companies with a weak culture, employees will just do their tasks then leave for the day. When an employee believes in the company, they will engage in each other’s ideas and strive to make it the best company it can be. I always want my company to set this example.
Ensure Priorities Are In Check
According to a BusinessWeek study, 82 percent of professionals reported they needed to partner with others throughout the day to get work done. It turns out that a “team work makes the dream work” mentality really is the key to success. In order to succeed, it’s important to recruit a team that has priorities that match the company’s mission and works well with others.
For young entrepreneurs who are in the midst of the startup grind, it’s key to surround yourself with the kind of people who truly believe in the business’s concept, are motivated to succeed, and know how to communicate without hesitating to step in for another teammate. Summer may come and go, but your people are the ones who will be there to move your business forward year-round.