In a recent discussion on CNBC Squawk Box, LaSalle Network CEO, Tom Gimbel, talked about how productivity levels from remote employees will look different this summer over last year.
There have been countless reports of employees being more productive working from home with many companies seeing peek remote productivity levels last summer; however, there is a major difference this summer: mass vaccine distribution and cities being open – partially, if not fully.
At the height of the pandemic last summer, professionals were working in overdrive to not only keep their jobs as companies were doing mass layoffs, but help their companies stay afloat during the financial recession. Leaders today need to prepare for a more distracted workforce this summer and use the nice weather as a tool to increase engagement. Below, we share how:
It’s been 15+ months of city shutdowns, canceled events, isolation, staying indoors, and poor weather for most parts of the country. If leaders care to retain employees and keep engagement high, they will encourage employees to get outside for breaks, whether it’s a walk or reading a book or mediating in the sun. Rather than feeling like they have to stay at their desks all day, potentially resenting what they’re working on, encourage employees to take mindful breaks to help recharge their batteries and return to work with greater energy and focus, ultimately increasing productivity.
Take Meetings Outside
Use this summer as an opportunity to reconnect and build team camaraderie. Depending on the structure of the team, it could be beneficial to hold in-person team and one-on-one meetings outside. Consider either taking a walk together or sitting spaced out, enjoying the weather while connecting face-to-face. It is important that managers first gauge their employees’ comfort levels with in-person interaction, making sure employees know it is not required of them to meet if they are not comfortable doing so; however, it would be a waste not to utilize warmer temperatures for getting outside to build team camaraderie. In-person connection can be a stronger driver for engagement.
Seek Out Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities
It is important employees feel fulfilled in their work and personal lives to maintain healthy engagement levels. With cities opening back up, there may be more opportunities for employees to get involved in a cause they are passionate about and invest in their community. Promoting safe volunteer opportunities for employees to do together outdoors can be a positive way to drive team engagement.
One example of this is LaSalle Network hosting different types of volunteer activities over the last year from one day where all employees volunteered, to other opportunities like our 10 Days of Giving that spanned multiple weeks.
Create a Community Around Outdoor Activities
Leaders can promote mental and physical wellbeing this summer, while providing valuable team-bonding opportunities by creating wellness challenges across departments. For instance, organizing a step challenge, running/biking groups, or even sponsoring an intramural sports league.
For those not wanting or unable to participate in outdoor activities in-person, consider creating a virtual community for them to patriciate, whether it’s a Peloton bike challenge or virtual exercise challenge leaderboard.
Regardless of being in-person or remote, getting employees connected and active throughout the summer is a great way for them to feel more fulfilled and connected to their peers. And at the end of the day, it’s up to managers to set clear expectations and hold employees accountable to hitting deadlines and achieving goals. However, managers who lead with empathy understand their people (especially after the last 15+ months) want to enjoy being outside and use that as an opportunity to fuel engagement and productivity.
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