The summer holidays may only be just starting and over the next 6 weeks, many office spaces will be disrupted as staff come and go. Often when staff return we notice a decrease in productivity as they consider the great time they have had on holiday verses the monotony of the day job. You may also find that the transition into autumn brings a sense of renewal, meaning that some people reflect on their job and start to seek alternatives. At Flat Fee Recruiter, we notice that by the end of August and the beginning of September, there is a dramatic increase in the number of applicants applying for jobs compared to before the summer holiday period.
So what can you do to ensure your employees coming back to work aren’t filled with dread and lethargy, how do you keep up your team morale and motivation?
5 simple ways to keep your employees motivated
1. Encouragement and Reassurance
Imagine walking into work and the first thing your boss says to you is: “It’s great to have you back Jo!” – you feel better about returning to work already right? That your absence has been noted and your contribution to the team is valued. Productivity levels increase the more encouragement you give your staff whether it is a “great job Dan” or, if you feel more comfortable, a ‘thank you for doing X’ email or ‘you did a great job on Y’ email.
There’s a whole bunch of things you can do to encourage your staff and increase motivation levels within the office - for a more extensive list of how to engage with your employees see our previous blog here.
2. Achievable Goal Setting
Coming back to work after a long period off is always a little challenging, demands on your cognitive functions in the office are totally different than in a holiday environment and as such, it takes a little time to get back into the productive work mindset. A brilliant way of doing this is to break the workload down into easily digestible chunks.
Business Consultant Michelle Neujahr explains how setting smaller goals, that the whole company can achieve, is a great motivator because; “when you engage employees down to the lowest level, they will feel more ownership over their jobs.” This feeling of ownership leads employees to take pride in their achievements and gives them the drive to work harder to attain the set goals.
3. Opportunities / Things to Look Forward to
When the summer holidays are over, people are often a little downhearted that they don’t have anything else exciting to look forward to. This is easily resolved – give them something to look forward to whether it is future options for learning, development or even promotions. It doesn’t have to be this significant though, if you don’t plan on expanding in the coming months, it could be something small like a work night out, pizza lunches, monetary/gifts, an employee of the month scheme etc. Anything to let them know that what they are doing in the present will have a gain and reward for the future. This is not only motivational but engages with your employees and builds stronger working relationship bonds between teams.
4. Offering Perks – Flexible Working
Another good way of helping your staff’s transition back to work after the holidays is to offer flexible working. Flexible working is a hot topic this year and all staff have the right to request it. So when you have staff that return from a period off, it might be worth embracing flexible working to ease the transition back into the standard 9-5, whether you are flexible on starting times or letting them work from home one day a week to get refreshed.
5. Prevent Winter Blues
It isn’t just the hours and end of summer fun that contributes to an unmotivated office, the change from summer to winter is also a scientifically viable cause for your employees feeling blue. Seasonal Affective Disorder i.e. a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern (winter blues) affects 2 million people in the UK. It is thought that Seasonal Affective Disorder is linked to sunlight and in the winter months where you leave for work in the dark and return in the dark is where it is most prominent. Whilst you can’t control the seasons you can aid your employees by encouraging them to go outside and catch the daylight, whether it is team building exercises or lunch, just a brief stint experiencing daylight, in what is otherwise a long stretch of darkness, will really improve your staff’s morale.
Keep in mind these principles all year round and why not plan the changes you can make to your business over the coming 12 months? It isn’t just the summer period that can bring about an unmotivated workforce, Christmas and Easter breaks can also have a negative impact on your staff turnover, however being aware and responding to this potential issue can really help you maintain a happy and engaged workforce.
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