by Roy Saunderson | July 20, 2014
  
Summertime triggers vacations in many people’s minds. But the summer heat can also drain us of our usual productivity and motivation at work. Wise employers can build in engaging, fun ideas to stimulate involvement from all employees and keep the summer spirits high. Check out these Top 10 Summer Engagement Ideas.
 
1. Unwind from the summer stress. Find different ways to lessen the workplace stress such as offering noon hour yoga classes, paid for or sponsored, or even start a company after-work sports league such as soccer or baseball.
 
2. Create summer long-weekends. Plan in with HR’s help flex-time schedules just for the summer so employees can opt to work four 10-hour days per week and then choose to take a Monday or Friday off each week for themselves or to be with their family.
 
3. Provide a summer mentoring program. Offer your top performers an hour, an afternoon, or a day with a mentor within the organization each month in the summer. Involve them in high-level projects to learn and grow as they work alongside executives within your organization.
 
4. What’s summer without ice cream? Whether it’s renting an ice-cream truck or simply purchasing a variety of flavored ice cream tubs and scooping them into cones or bowls, along with some popsicles, stop to cool off at an afternoon break during the summer.
 
5. Give to charities together. There's always a fun run or walk for charity in your community. Why not join together as a company team and participate in a weekend event like this and support a worthy cause. If you can’t find one, have the company sponsor one and engage the local community.
 
6. Have hazy summer T-shirt days. Why not designate a special day each month in the summer for employees to wear their favorite T-shirt to work? Especially when dealing with the public, request that employees only wear shirts that are appropriate and not offensive, however.
 
7. Plan a company picnic. Have the company sponsoring some aspect of the food or drinks. Employees can potluck the rest to cut costs and feel like they’re contributing. You can hold watermelon pit spitting contests, three legged races, and other classic picnic games.
 
8. Have your own summer games. Find a patch of grass with shade trees or rent a municipal park to have some fun-in-the-sun games and activities. From softball to volleyball, water-balloon toss or water-gun laser-tag, get creative in involving as many employees as possible.
 
9. Too hot to be outside recreation? When the days are scorching hot and the humidity reading is too high to be outside, why not try planning some indoors Minute-to-Win-It-like games between teams. These are always fun and you’ll be amazed who ends up being the winners.
 
10. Cool off and volunteer in the community. This could involve helping at a local summer camp or reading to kids at a summer library program. You get to be in a cool environment and encourage young people to participate in great activities and help them escape summer boredom.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and Chief Learning Officer of Rideau’s Recognition Management Institute, a consulting a training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at RoySaunderson@Rideau.com. Also, check out the library of Real Recognition Radio shows.