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by Roy Saunderson | July 14, 2015
"Summertime, and the livin' is easy," wrote George Gershwin many summers ago. Life can be hot and humid or tied up with people going on vacations in the summer. This can make it hard to keep everyone motivated and rolling through to the end of summer. This month's top 10 will help you do just that. Enjoy!

1. Think cold. With summer temperatures heating up, one great way to motivate staff is to think about bringing in something cold to cool things down at work. There's lots to choose from, including ice cream, popsicles, or slushie-like drinks.

2. Think wet. You get thirsty in the summer, so make a note of everyone's favorite refreshing drinks. Get everyone come to the cafeteria for a quick drink on the company and chat about work, family, and life. Or you could have a pool party somewhere!

3. Think food.
 There is nothing like enjoying time together over a summer meal. Create a barbeque with the company purchasing the main courses and the employees bringing in potluck salads or desserts. Theme-based menus can allow folks to bring their specialties each month.

4. Think time. One thing employees want to enjoy in the summer is a little extra time to do the things they enjoy. Why not introduce flexitime for the summer months? Allow working extra hours each day to make up for one day off. It could pay dividends.

5. Think fun. You can't pretend to have fun every week, but at least plan some activities to connect everyone together in novel ways. Games like Minute to Win It or a Hawaiian dress-up day across departments can raise morale and build positive relationships.

6. Think outside. If you have outside tables for employees to eat at, rent or purchase a tent covering to bring in some needed shade and protect from the sun. Or why not permit using any available land and soil for planting and enjoying flowers or vegetables?

7. Think picnics. Try a traditional good old-fashioned picnic, with races of the three-legged, egg-on-the-spoon, and potato sack variety. Think tug of war and water balloon tosses over volleyball nets. And don't forget the watermelon pit-spitting contest. Be sure to broadcast the winners!

8. Think sports. Hitting the field is a natural in the summer. See if there is interest in creating a short tournament with departmental teams. If it gets too hot , find a cool indoor facility to compete if possible. 

9. Think service. Summertime can sometimes cause us to think more about ourselves than about others. Why not adopt a summer camp for kids and provide both people resources and fun activities to lift the spirits of needy children? Take corporate social responsibility seriously in the summertime.

10. Think vacations. Most employees are thinking about taking time off for holidays during the summer. Make time to meet and collaborate on how staff can help one another to share workloads and make the summer more enjoyable for all. Help lessen the stress of others when they are worried about taking some much needed time off during the summer!

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is the Chief Learning Officer ofRideau's Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and 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.