The following blog is contributed by public relations expert JP George, who enjoys blogging about leadership, talent management and organizational business.
summer in the workplace Summer in the Workplace — Taking Advantage of Building Workplace Community

Companies have a great opportunity come summertime to create a fun and enjoyable workplace, while at the same time building a great teamwork environment. Businesses that invest in team-building develop the most productive and happy employees. They’re also seen by potential job-seekers as an appealing place to start or continue their careers. As O.C. Tanner explains, “A growth of team-building skills in the workplace can positively influence group projects, campaigns, employee engagement and motivation in the workplace.”
This summer, take advantage of the easy ways to inject fun into your workplace and build a stronger workplace community. Michael Kerr, author of “You CAN’T Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work” shares his top 10 ways to add fun this summer in the workplace in this recent blog post.
Read on below for five fun, festive and community-building ideas to help you make the most of summer in the workplace.

5 Ways to Make the Most of Summer in Your Workplace

Field Day
One popular team-building activity is holding a field day. Field days are a great way to build camaraderie and allow employees across departmental groups to get to know each other and work together. Patrick Simms reviews the success of Switch’s annual field day event in “Teambuilding Trends: Having a Field Day”:

“(Teambuilding has) clear business benefits, but the way that we try to approach it is much more organic so that it feels like genuine fun. If it feels forced, it’s not going to work,” explains Annie Castellano, chief creative officer at St. Louis, MO-based Switch, an experiential marketing agency that stages team building for corporate clients as well as for its own staff. When the activity is successful, it strengthens working relationships among participants, often cultivating numerous other qualities as a side effect, such as leadership ability, problem-solving, patience and communication skills.”

For the new host of a field day, it goes something like this: teams are chosen and designated by a specific color of T-shirt. The Blue team, Red team, Green team, etc. compete against each other in several fun events. These teams are chosen regardless of department or position. So, a manager in the accounting department could be on the Blue team with a customer service representative in the sales department. The T-shirts should all have the company logo or motto printed on them in the colors selected. Competition events could include a sack race, Frisbee toss, 3-legged race, egg and spoon relay, balloon toss and wheelbarrow race, etc.
There are many resources online, such as the Livestrong Foundation, that give out helpful field day activities for adults to get your creative juices to flowing.
A company carnival is also a wonderful way to get employees out and enjoying themselves together. Each department or team in the company might create a game for the other department’s employees to compete in and enjoy. The ring toss, dart throw, outdoor bowling, blackjack table, golf putt basketball shooting, big dice roll, etc. are just some of the games that bring smiles and laughter to the workforce. And with the company departments creating and running these games, there is a team-building benefit, too!
Hosting a cookout is a classic go-to for providing an event where employees can relax and enjoy time with co-workers. Bring out the grills and soft drinks and have it right in the company parking lot. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, chips and condiments bring out the kid in everyone. Rent a popcorn or snow-cone machine to add some excitement, or consider a karaoke machine. Employees will have a great time showing off their vocal skills (or not!). Also, employee recognition awards can be given out during these cookouts to acknowledge top performers.

summer in the workplace - invite families

An Ice Cream Social or Cookout is the perfect chance to include employee families in your workplace gratitude. Everyone will appreciate the summertime fun!

Ice Cream Social
Nothing’s better than an ice cream social to beat summer heat. Host it indoors or out, and decorate with fun colorful balloons and other festive accents. Provide all the best condiments that go with ice cream: fruit toppings, chopped nuts, chocolate and caramel syrup, sprinkles, a variety of candies, cherries, whipped cream and more for employees to design and create their own dessert masterpiece. Don’t forget virtual workers — you can always send them an Ice Cream Gift Certificate ahead of time and Skype them into the party so they can participate in the fun, too!
Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are all the rage, especially with Millennials and the new popularity of Escape Missions and Rooms. A traditional scavenger hunt is still a great choice in the workplace to help break the ice between new employees or newly formed teams. Structure your hunt so teams work together to find hidden objects or solve clues. The team that finds the most items at the end of the contest typically wins, but offer other prize categories for more fun. The winning teams can receive anything from movie passes to extra vacation time. What would be a great motivator for your teams to work together?
Whatever activities you choose, take advantage of building engagement and community in your workplace this summer. If you think it’s fun, others will as well. We all enjoy the opportunity to enjoy our coworkers and get to know them better.
Guest Blogger: JP George
JP George grew up in a small town in Washington. After receiving a Master’s degree in Public Relations, JP worked in a variety of positions, from agencies to corporations all across the globe. Experience has made JP an expert in topics relating to leadership, talent management and organizational business. JP would love to hear from you! Find her on Twitter @JPGeorge3.

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