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Summer’s Here: 10 Benefits to Keep Employees Happy and Engaged

By: Lending Tree


Smiling woman in a swimsuit and in flippers at the table in office thinking about travelling. Dreaming about a vacation concept, journey daydreaming

Summertime is known for its slower pace, and your employees may hope for a bit more leisure time or flexible work arrangements to take advantage of the nicer weather. As a small business owner, there are ways to keep your employees engaged while also giving them more time to do what they enjoy. Here are 10 summer benefits to keep employees happy — and increase retention.

1. Loosen up employee schedules

Even if you offer flex hours year-round, you might consider bumping them up in the summer. Flexible work arrangements give employees more control over how they work, which is no small thing. That might look like:

  • Going down to a four-day workweek or offering Summer Fridays, either on a rotating basis or for all employees
  • Letting employees put in a set number of hours per week, as opposed to working a 9-to-5 daily schedule

This allows employees to continue working while also pursuing more of what they love outside of work, which can actually lead to greater productivity when they are at work, too.

2. Normalize remote work

Remote work has become much more common over the last few years. You might consider letting employees work from home for some or all of the summer. This is something most working parents will appreciate, but it’s one of the most important benefits to keep employees hapy. Some people focus better without distractions, while others may prefer the buzz of their local coffee shop. Cutting your workers more slack shows that you trust them to get their work done. It also allows them to work while traveling without having to take time off.

3. Take business outside

Being cooped up in an office can feel like torture when the sun is shining. Getting out and absorbing natural light is associated with improved moods and increased happiness. Holding meetings outdoors or allowing your employees to work outside is a simple benefit that could support employee wellness in a big way. Steve Jobs, who was fond of walking meetings, may have been onto something.

4. Provide child care benefits

Child care is always important, but it can present a real challenge to working parents during the summer months when school’s out. One 2023 Care.com report found that 46% of employers are prioritizing child care as one of the benefits to keep employees happy and improve productivity and retention. You might do this by:

  • Providing on-site child care
  • Allowing employees to bring their children to work with them
  • Expanding your work-from-home benefits
  • Offering a dependent care flexible spending account (FSA), which is an employee benefit that allows workers to use pre-tax funds to cover qualified child care expenses.
  • Enhancing your flexible work arrangements

5. Relax the dress code

Your small business’s dress code will depend on your company culture, but the summertime can be a good time to loosen the restrictions. You might implement a Casual Friday policy or allow employees to dress however they like if they aren’t interacting with clients. Another option is to conduct a brief employee survey to gauge their feelings around the dress code and how they might want to modify it during the summer.

6. Introduce group wellness sessions

Nearly three-quarters of organizations surveyed by the HR company Buck said they’ve upped their commitment to well-being programs. Their top reasons for doing so were:

  • Talent attraction/retention
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Mental health support

You can use this sunny season to organize outdoor yoga classes, meditation sessions, group hikes and more. These activities can help improve employee well-being and boost productivity at the same time.

7. Plan group volunteer events

Plenty of people wish they had more time to volunteer. Making it part of the workday can help your team feel more connected to their community and each other. Start by gauging their interest and taking their suggestions for causes they care about. They’ll probably be more likely to participate if they’re personally invested. Consider appointing a volunteer chair to organize the details, then get out and volunteer together as a group.

8. Consider bring-your-pet-to-work days

According to the Harvard Business Review, pet-friendly work policies can be a powerful employee retention tool. Beyond that, having four-legged friends around the office might also improve employee happiness and encourage collaboration. What’s more, paying for dog walkers can be a financial inconvenience for workers. They may be more focused if they know their pets are safe and sound beside them.

9. Organize a group field day

There’s nothing like some friendly competition to bring your team closer together. Holding an annual summer field day can be an especially fun tradition for workers who’ve been with you for a while. You can rent a space at your local park, choose teams, and decide on fun camp-style games like three-legged races and water-balloon tosses. You can throw in some enticing prizes to get everyone even more motivated. The day itself can be a paid workday.

10. Offer free employee outings

This could be something you do year round or just during the summer. The goal is to do things that are fun, promote team bonding and support employee retention. That might include:

  • Happy hours
  • Bowling nights
  • Tickets to sporting events
  • Go-kart racing
  • Escape rooms

You can also use these outings to celebrate company milestones or employees who’ve done a particularly great job lately.

There are lots of different ways to show your employees that you value them. The summer provides some unique opportunities to do just that. What matters most is making your team feel appreciated. Summer benefits to keep employees happy could also make their lives easier, improve their well-being and satisfaction and make them more likely to stay with your small business.

Published: July 2, 2024

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Lending Tree

LendingTree is an online loan marketplace for various financial borrowing needs including auto loans, small business loans, personal loans, credit cards, and more. We also offer comparison shopping services for autos and educational programs. Together, these services serve as an ally for consumers who are looking to comparison shop among multiple businesses and professionals who will compete for their business.

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