5 Ways to Engage Employees When They’d Rather Be on Vacation


Jeffrey Bumbales

For many of us, summer means days spent dreaming about laying on the beach, taking a dip in a hotel pool, or road-tripping to a picturesque national park. But once we hit adulthood, summertime really just means getting into the office a little sweatier than the rest of the year. Vacations aren’t guaranteed, and the ones we do get to take are usually shorter than we’d like.

As a business owner, you know how important it is to take a break from time to time—but you also know you need to keep your employees engaged in their work when they’re on the clock. You’ve invested plenty in your business, so don’t forget to invest in your people. Keeping your employees on top of their game is always in your best interest.

Fortunately, there are several simple ways to make sure your employees are fully engaged at work, even when they’d rather be sipping a mojito on the beach.

Understand Their Point of View

As an entrepreneur, there’s a strong chance you’ve caught a bit more of the workaholic bug than the average person. You’ve always dreamed of building your own business from the ground up, and never hesitated to put your heart, soul, and many hours of overtime into it.

That’s okay! But not everyone aspires to be an entrepreneur. Understanding where your employees are coming from, including their need to take a break, is key to keeping their spirits high and performance on the up-and-up.

In fact, empathy is one of the most important factors of effective management. Listening to and understanding your employees’ wants and needs makes them feel more important—and more likely to meet you where you need them to be.

If Possible, Offer Flex Hours and Remote Work

As we become a highly digital society, more and more companies are offering flexible work arrangements as a perk for their employees. In fact, nearly 80% of American companies now offer flex schedules and work-from-home arrangements.

If your industry makes it easy for you to offer flexible hours or remote work to your employees, it can be a great way to improve their work-life balance and keep them motivated day-to-day. Plus, remote work can allow your employees to take advantage of summer vacation spots without neglecting their inbox.

Plan a Retreat

It’s important to show your employees that they’re valued all year long. When it’s warm outside, there are countless ways to give your employees a short break from their day-to-day in the name of team bonding.

Work retreats can be a great way to encourage camaraderie among coworkers, work on your business management skills or simply de-stress away from the office. And they don’t have to be long or expensive—if you want to save on costs, a one-day retreat from the office (think: picnic by the lake or team BBQ) is all you and your team need to refresh.

Foster a Little Friendly Competition

Summer isn’t just a time to take time off and relax—it’s also a great opportunity to get a little healthier.

As an employer, your employees’ health should be of the utmost importance. You want them feeling well so they can perform to their full potential. A wellness challenge is an excellent chance to engage your employees in a little friendly competition, while also encouraging them to be healthier all around and build a company wellness culture.

If you’re looking for some team wellness challenge ideas, consider firing up those FitBits and seeing who can accrue the highest number of steps over a month or two, or maybe even partaking in a team weight loss competition. You can provide incentives for the winners, but the fun of participating is usually enough to keep your employees active and engaged.

Encourage Your Team to Use Vacation Days

Finally, the best way to keep employees engaged when they’re not on vacation is to stress the importance of actually taking a vacation. It’s a lot easier to enjoy being at work after a week-long lake getaway or when you have a hiking trip to look forward to next month.

Often, the best part of taking a vacation isn’t even the vacation itself—it’s in the anticipation and planning. With something to look forward to, your employees will be happier overall, and thus less likely to feel checked out during the workday.

Author bio

Meredith WoodMeredith Wood is the Editor-in-Chief at Fundera, an online marketplace for small business loans that matches business owners with the best funding providers for their business. Specializing in financial advice for small business owners, Meredith is a current and past contributor to Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, SCORE, AllBusiness and more.