Summer breaks, those months of pure bliss we frolicked through in our school days, might not be part of the professional world, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. When the sun is up, the office mood should be, too.
We asked some of our favorite entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share their ideas on how to stay motivated while others are out on vacation:
1. Host outside meetings and lunches.
No conference rooms allowed unless it’s raining! Take your team and the business of the hour outside for some fresh air and sunshine. If it’s lunchtime, bring some food and make it a picnic. People’s moods and morale will perk up considerably, especially after a winter like most of the country just had.
—Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work
2. Play a team sport.
Start a team and play sports together. This is one of the best ways to work both on and off the field! It will build morale and teach everyone how to work better together.
—John Rampton, Adogy
3. Institute “real” time off.
We close our office for the week of the 4th of July. It is part of our “real time off” benefits—we give people a lot of paid time off and also close our office for three weeks a year. (The week of the 4th and two weeks over Christmas and New Year’s.) Taking time off together means real vacation, without inboxes filling up or worrying that colleagues are waiting on you.
—Jennifer Benz, Benz Communications
4. Give summer hours on Fridays.
Any team can implement “summer hours,” with a shorter workday on Fridays. If you can’t afford the productivity loss of shorter hours every week, even once a month will make a huge difference in motivating your team.
—Laura Roeder, LKR Social Media
5. Offer a sork-from-home day.
Give people the option to work from home one day a week during summer. They can use that opportunity to work outside, at a coffee shop, travel, etc. Autonomy is one of the greatest motivators for people; give it to them.
—Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee
6. Do a community service project together.
One low-cost, high-impact strategy that builds teamwork is a summer volunteer service project. We encourage our fellow entrepreneurs to let employees select and run these projects. Also, don’t forget to share the work with the community and shareholders to maximize the benefit to your company’s brand.
—Suzanne Smith, Social Impact Architects
7. Make root beer floats.
Last summer, we stocked the company freezer with vanilla ice cream and added root beer as a flavor for our soda machine. Hard to beat root beer floats in the summer!
—Michael Seiman, CPXi
8. Practice gratitude.
Gratitude is invaluable and priceless. Something as simple as doing a champagne toast and personally thanking everyone for everything they are doing shows your team that you not only acknowledge what they are doing, but appreciate it, in front of their peers and colleagues.
—Steven Le Vine, grapevine pr + consulting
9. Have team-approved ‘fun days.’
Have a once-a-month ‘fun day’ where everyone gets out of the office early for some kind of group get-together, be it a BBQ, trip to the beach or park, happy hour or anything else you enjoy. Have a vote at each fun day to determine what you’re going to do next month.
—Nathaniel Victor, Sonic Electronix, Inc.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprising the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.