Danni Rush, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Incentives and Virgin Experience Days and Virgin Experience Gifts, explains how leaders can keep their team’s morale up throughout the summer.
As the days get longer, the mornings get lighter and the evenings warmer, it’s now safe to say summer is on the horizon.
The last two summers have been riddled with travel restrictions which meant many people had their holiday plans disrupted in some way or decided to avoid going away altogether.
However, with most restrictions now lifted, it’s clear there’s pent up demand as 44% of people are planning to holiday abroad or in the UK this year. People are excited to enjoy some much-needed time off to fully relax and recharge over the summer months.
This means holiday requests often peak during these months and teams are a lot smaller. Consequently, employees’ workload increases to cover their colleagues who are on holiday. It’s therefore essential that key business leaders take steps to keep morale high in the workplace during the summer months.
Ensuring all employees are considered during ‘peak’ holiday periods
Firstly, business leaders should remind themselves why it’s important that employees take leave. A recent study has found that almost three-quarters of Brits experience stress on a day-to-day basis – this is highest amongst 25–34-year-olds. Annual leave allows employees to block out time for themselves to rest and re-energise.
Some of the many benefits include managing stress and improving morale, not only for individual employees, but also for the overall team. Employees that feel happy and refreshed at home are also likely to be more engaged and motivated at work – it’s a win-win.
Business leaders need to be encouraging their employees to take time off work to safeguard their team’s overall wellbeing, but employers need to strategically navigate their employees’ diaries. This is to ensure those not on leave – and picking up the workload of those that are – do not feel overwhelmed.
Furthermore, business leaders should work to better motivate employees working during the summer period and reward them for the extra tasks they may be taking on. With this in mind, here are some practical steps team leaders can take to recognise and reward those employees.
Ways to look after employees working over the summer period
Communication is a key step in helping employers understand how employees are feeling. If companies implement clear communication channels – such as regular one-to-one and team meetings – then employees will feel confident raising concerns directly to their employer, which can then be handled in a timely and effective manner. It’s crucial that employers keep one ear to the ground regarding their team’s workload and overall morale.
If the right communication channels are in place, business leaders can use the insight gathered to introduce other initiatives that will keep team morale high. Perhaps they could organise out of office activities or team bonding days for employees and work with a third party to plan a team activity, such as corporate painting classes from Brush party, a new partner on Virgin Incentives, or an escape room.
Alternatively, or alongside the above, employers could also look at rewarding their employees over the summer period. Not only will little rewards such as having free food trucks or ice cream vans visit the office, like we do at Virgin Incentives, be an exciting, mid-day treat, but employees will also feel their hard work is being recognised. At a time when employees’ workload may be more intense, the more that employers can do to show their appreciation, the better.
As employees gear up to take some much-needed time off to relax and re-energise, it’s up to business leaders to ensure those still working do not feel overwhelmed/overworked. This can be done through clear, open communication and by rewarding employees on a frequent basis with team treats and incentives to show appreciation for their hard work but also to ensure team morale remains high, even when the whole team isn’t there.
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