As the weather heats up, “appropriate workplace attire” can become open for interpretation. If an employer elects to allow a more relaxed dress code during the summer months, clear guidelines for what-to-wear and what-not-to-wear should be clearly communicated to all employees.
Ideally, a company dress code should be part of a comprehensive employee handbook that is easy to access and reference. Keeping in mind that the term “casual dress” may mean jeans to some employees and t-shirts and flip flops to others, it’s always useful to include specific examples of appropriate attire to wear at work throughout the year to avoid any misunderstanding.
Having a clear and consistent vacation or Paid Time Off (PTO) policy in place is a must for all employers. Some employees like to use their PTO to extend their weekends during the summer so companies may want to consider allowing seasonal perks such as compressed work weeks, revised work schedules, flex-time or shorter hours on Fridays to help employees achieve a better work/life balance. Also, by allowing a flexible scheduling policy, supervisors are better able to manage workflows and can arrange schedules according to those needs.
Summer is also a popular season for company picnics, with many organizations hosting casual events to recognize and reward employees and their families. Some tips in organizing these events include:
Be inclusive: form a committee to plan the event that includes people from across the organization at all levels. Also, choose a date and time that will allow the greatest number of employees to attend, being careful to respect religious obligations.
Have a purpose: communicate the purpose of the outing (purely social, team building, celebrating success, etc.). Make sure that all activities are appropriate for the intended participants, especially if children are invited.
Over communicate: be sure you provide event details to all employees (check that the email distribution lists you use actually reach everyone). Send frequent reminders of the date, time and venue, including directions.
Provide alternatives: if some employees cannot attend due to work reasons, consider providing an attractive alternative like free passes or discount tickets to a theme park or other recreational venue to use during the summer.
Finally, because summer signals the mid-year point and for some companies is a slower time of year, it’s a suitable time to focus on employee performance. While providing ongoing feedback is preferable, at this mid-year point, encourage supervisors to meet with direct reports and discuss progress on goals and review overall performance metrics. For those companies that follow a July-to-June fiscal year calendar, this is the time to discuss year-end goals and accomplishments and establish benchmarks for the upcoming year.