A few years ago, I saw a funny post on Facebook that said if you leave the office in the middle of the day to go outside, and someone asks where you are, you can say you are “Out-Standing.” Ha ha – get it? OUT? STANDING?
So maybe this isn’t hilarious to you, but to me and Melissa, this is comedy gold. It’s so funny to us, in fact, that we still say it to this day. We are both sunshine lovers, and hate the idea of being inside an office in the cold AC when we know the outside is beautiful. Many times, for lunch, or just to have a meeting where we don’t need WiFi, we decide to be “outstanding.”
Most of us get a taste of summer weather and our brains go into “vacation” mode. Why? Because as kids, we got the summers off. Nice weather equals unbridled freedom. Oh, how adulting pales in comparison. Grown ups look toward the nice weather as a time of…
a) freezing your butt off in the AC,
b) melting your butt off in a suit, or
c) literally there is no in-between.
None of those options sound great. Not to mention, 75% of U.S. teens and adults have a vitamin D deficiency. Not getting enough sunlight could actually be bad for your health!
So, how do you leverage Spring Fever to make you and your team happier, more productive, and engaged? Nobody should resent having to be stuck inside during nice weather, wondering why they even bother coming in at all when Spring Fever hits. Imagine middle school without recess? Yikes. Instead, there are plenty of ways to use the weather to make everyone look forward to a fun time at work.
Encourage outdoor lunch breaks
There is a lot of research that suggest that real lunch breaks are great for productivity, employee happiness, and mental well-being. Yet, according to the above linked article, “22% of North American bosses say that employees who take a regular lunch break are less hardworking.” DO NOT be that boss! Truly encourage your team to take their brown bags away from their desks and to sit in the sun while they re-energize. Taking real breaks will do wonders for reactivating brain power.
Have “walking meetings”
It’s so hard to take your meetings outside these days, since we often need to be connected to our internet-ready devices. But next time you need to brainstorm, grab a notebook and pen, and head outside with your team. The change of scenery from your white office walls will spark new ideas and connections. Let those good sun rays soak into your brain. I bet you’ll be surprised what you come up with.
Institute Summer Fridays
Many places of work have this tradition. Some people come in earlier so they can leave earlier. Others just get the extra hours off. Either way, ending the week with free time before the sun sets is great for morale.
“It’s not like people are really killing it at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon in the middle of the summer.”Brian Kropp, HR practice leader at CEB,, told Bloomberg
Start a team Happy Hour tradition
If your team is also great friends with each other, suggest a weekly “Happy Hour” outing. Skip out early on a certain day and grab an early dinner or drinks. Afraid this will get in the way of productivity? Don’t be. Most likely, new ideas will come out of the more relaxed environment. Even if nobody mentions work at all, the bonds created between co-workers will make for better rapport back at the office.
Reward hitting team metrics with outdoor activities
Does your team get rewards when you hit a big goal? What if that reward was a company-wide barbecue or picnic, or just a day throwing a Frisbee in the park? The benefits of this will not only mirror those of a team Happy Hour, but also create great motivation to work hard to hit those metrics.
Working through the summer months doesn’t sound so bad anymore, does it? It may seem counter-intuitive, but having fun with your team in the fresh air will create a better environment inside for high-quality work and higher retention rates. Don’t ignore the Spring Fever!