Tips to Motivate Employees During the Summer Slump

Sun, sand… sluggishness? While the summer months are perfect for beach parties and cookouts, they are notorious for plummeting productivity. How can you beat the odds and help keep your employees engaged, motivated and productive as temps around the country soar? Here are some ideas.

motivate employees summer slump

Determine whether a summer hours policy is right for you.

This may not be feasible for some companies, but for others it could be just the motivational boost employees need. Many would prefer working longer hours throughout the work week so they can head home around lunch time on Fridays. A 2017 Forbes article cited research showing that 42 percent of organizations offer a variation of Summer Fridays, up from 21 percent two years prior. According to the piece, “…by offering Summer Fridays, companies are helping improve employee engagement by just formalizing a policy that already reflects the reality of how people tend to work in the summer.” As a bonus, you can advertise this sought-after perk when recruiting top talent.

Consider flexible scheduling.

An alternative to summer hours or Summer Fridays is to offer flexible schedules or work-from-home options throughout the week — during the summer and even beyond. With the rise in virtual and global teams, chances are employees are already accustomed to getting work done outside of traditional working hours. Encouraging them to take a little time here or there to enjoy the summer while still maintaining rigorous expectations and outcomes can be a win-win.

Encourage employees to take time off.

Wait, what? Seemingly contradictory on the surface, a deeper dive shows that in the long run employees who are likely on their way to burnout town, if they aren’t there already, need a break to refresh, recharge and give you their best. According to recent research published in Inc., 70 percent of employees who take a week or more of vacation time say they are “highly motivated to contribute to the success of the organization” compared to 55 percent of those who had less time off.

Offer the opportunity to work on special projects.

During the rest of the year when work is hectic, it can be hard to explore more creative endeavors. That’s why the summer is a great time to nudge employees toward creative pursuits. Are some interested in conducting experiments or testing some of your processes? Do employees want to form a summer book club with a focus on innovative business techniques or profiling great leaders?  Would employees be interested in summer lunch-and-learns that would encourage idea-sharing? Sometimes employees just need an outlet to explore some of their more creative ideas without fear of reprimand, and the summer may just provide that outlet.

Encourage employees to develop themselves.

You typically don’t think of the summer as a particularly fitting time for events, but encourage employees to expand their horizons — and sharpen their skill sets — by looking for conferences, workshops, bootcamps, seminars, certifications or even webinars. Are some of your workers curious to learn how to code? Do some want to take a crash course in content strategy? Are others interested in honing their project management skills with a summer bootcamp? The idea is to help them switch up the routine and channel what energy they have into becoming better workers — they will benefit from it and so will you.


Deanna Hartley is a prolific writer and editor, having spent the past decade publishing hundreds of print and digital bylines on topics including job search advice, career development, recruitment, HR and human capital management. Deanna has a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, was formerly a senior editor at award-winning publisher Human Capital Media and a senior copywriter at CareerBuilder. She currently works as a content manager at Aon, a global professional services firm. Her articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including Gannett’s network of newspapers, Business Insider and Workforce Magazine.

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