There Are Some Cures for The Summertime (Employment)
Summer brings warm weather and unique workplace challenges. From dress codes, to amped-up “sick leave” calls, to scrambling to cover for multiple time-off requests, HR and supervisors have a lot to deal with when the weather turns warm. Phillip Bauknight is an associate at the Murray Hill, NJ, office of Atlanta’s Fisher Phillips law firm. He points to three common challenges that crop-up (no pun intended on the growing season!) during the summer months.
When summer heat and humidity are on the rise, some employers implement a summer dress code. Bauknight recommends not losing sight of factors that may affect safety. For instance, open-toe shoes may increase slip-and-fall dangers. Since summer dress may lead to more skin exposure, he also recommends that employers have reasonable attire and appearance guidelines in places that provide examples of acceptable and unacceptable attire. These policies need to be applied consistently.
Requests for “sick time” often increase during summer months – isn’t it funny how often workers become ill during the nicest weather of the year? One good way to handle this is proactively through a single paid time off (PTO) policy. Often, says Bauknight, when there is a single policy for all PTO, employees are more hesitant to abuse their ability to call-in sick because they may want to bank those days for an actual vacation.
Too many time-off requests can wreak havoc on staffing and productivity and can truly make the lives of those who are left behind to work absolutely miserable. Plan ahead and set deadlines for how far in advance summer vacation requests need to be submitted. Employers should communicate such policies well in advance, in writing, and apply them consistently. Reminders as summer draws nigh are a good idea as well.
Summer Affects Your HR Team Too
Neither managers nor HR professionals are themselves immune from these summertime challenges. Yet these are the members of the workforce most tasked with helping to manage, and minimize, potential downtime. In addition to the policy considerations previously mentioned above, organizations can take additional steps to help manage the workforce during those glorious but distracting summer months.
■ Take time out for fun. Lunchtime pot-lucks, cookouts, an offsite lunch picnic or two, and other mealtime activities can break up the workday and make everyone feel special during summer months.
■ Create and communicate tangible goals with measurable outcomes to keep employees on track – and consider rewarding success in some way. Movie tickets to summer blockbusters; beach basket packs replete with suntan lotion, sunglasses and a snack; tickets to outdoor concerts in the park – these are nice rewards for hard-working employees sweating it out in the hot summer.
■ Ask employees for ideas on how to make the workplace more fun, and summer less distracting. These can be submitted anonymously or you can hold a contest to get the brightest ideas from your staff. Oftentimes the direct workers will have insights and suggestions that management has never considered.
■Finally, acknowledge, accept and plan for the inevitable summertime slump. With some pre-planning, a realistic mindset, and a commitment to taking extra steps to engage employees over the summer months, organizations can help to ease the burden of summertime distractions that can weigh-down the morale of your remaining staff.
At Flex-Team, we think you’ll find that these helpful suggestions make a lot of sense. That’s because Flex-Team is here for you – in every season of the year. Please contact us if you have questions on how we can ease the burden of running a business and keeping things at full-productivity through our proactive temporary staffing services. We have solutions for all sizes of business and we look forward to having a conversation with you.
Don’t forget your suntan lotion!