It’s not always obvious, but the transition from summer to fall is a difficult time for some people. Even folks who don’t struggle with a medical diagnosis like Seasonal Affective Disorder can notice a marked annual change in their energy levels and attitude when the days get shorter and colder.
Employees who are susceptible to these fall ho-hums can bring this sluggishness into the workplace with them, which may contribute to feedback from other employees who are feeling the same way. Sometimes, effective management means meeting people where they are and finding healthy, effective ways to guide your team through that dreaded end-of-summer slump.
Here are 5 ways you can help beat your staff’s autumn blues while keeping a professional and productive environment.
Remote Work Options
The option to work some hours from home is a huge sell for employees, especially after 2020. You may have some doubts about work-from-home being the most effective model for your business. But remote work flexibility has practical value among both employers and job-seekers in the wake of the Covid-19 shakeup.
Use Employee Data Intelligently
Most business operations handle a great deal of their work on the computer. As a result, software-based employee monitoring and tracking systems have been having a moment over the last decade. Instead of turning your office into an unwelcoming surveillance state, you can use these technologies to monitor your employee data, such as looking for changes after morale-building meetings or offering small perks. This can help you understand which incentives your staff responds best to. You can also use it to determine which parts of the day are best for which tasks. Use employee data effectively to understand your employees’ needs, and learn how they can best fit your operation.
Create or improve incentives
Find room in the budget for better perks: restaurant gift cards, event tickets, additional PTO, early release days, and more. This is a fundamental tenet of employee morale that is too easily forgotten during budget-crunching meetings. When incentives and recognitions have a practical value for your employees, their motivation to pursue those incentives will increase accordingly. The returns will be seen in your bottom line and will justify any up-front expense.
Honesty and Clarity
The job market has been volatile and stressful for many employees over the last several years. Your employees need to know exactly where they stand. Some transparency and corporate clarity can go a long way towards building trust and stabilizing morale in uncertain times.
When morale is shaky, go back to basics. Take a survey of your employees to find out what their favorite restaurants are, then find a popular one that can cater a planned appreciation lunch. A free meal is a timeless way to let the people you depend on know you appreciate them, and sharing food together can be a bonding experience for your staff. Traditional wisdom says to do the special lunch on a Friday so that employees have something to work towards, but a nice meal on Monday can be a way to start the week on a high note and to shake off those fall feelings and the weekly case of “The Mondays”.
You could even plan a “fall harvest week” where you do a free lunch on both Monday and Friday, and have fall-themed casual dress days with comfy sweatshirts, football jerseys, or lazy Halloween costumes. You can make it as simple as you wish. It’s hard to go wrong with any straightforward gesture that improves an employee’s workday in a memorable way.