Keeping Employees Motivated During Summer — Experts Weigh In

Keeping your employees motivated and happy is just part of running a small business. However, this particular part of the job becomes a little trickier during the summer months when everyone would rather be at the beach or on vacation. We asked our small business experts what it is they do to keep their employees motivated and passionate all summer long.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “We have found that location and time freedom has motivate our workforce the most. If it’s a sunny summer day, team members can enjoy the beach during the day and work at night instead. If a team member wants summer 12 months of the year, he/she can live in the Southern hemisphere during their Summer and then the Northern hemisphere during the other Summer. The ability to engineer one’s ideal lifestyle is the ultimate motivating factor.” –Kean Graham, Monetize Moore

2. “Our employees know that they have more freedom over the summer as to when they work. Flex schedules are encouraged and they’re more than welcome to take Fridays off, provided all of their work responsibilities are completed. It’s important to incentivize employees, especially over the summer time, in order to keep them motivated, productive, and happy.” –Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers

3. “We do work-from-home Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I haven’t noticed any drop-off in productivity; everybody seems to be working smoothly with each other via email and messenger. And it really does make the weekend feel longer… you can do some get-ready-for-the-weekend chores during your lunch hour.” –William Gadea, IdeaRocket, LLC  

4. “One of the best ways to make sure your employees are happy as well as motivated during the summer (and year-round) is to allow them to work from home. A good amount of our employees work remotely and everyone appreciates what it does for their work-life balance. More and more, people are job searching for opportunities that will let them work remotely. If you offer a remote position, you’ll be sure to get a good response because of the work-lifebalance it allows.” –Eric Anthony,

5. “I introduce Friday afternoon downtime for my staff during the summer months. I stock up the fridge with drinks and snacks for us all to tuck into, so we can all relax after a hard working week. This sustains staff morale, improves team bonding and makes working inside an office block a hell of a lot better when the sun’s shining outside.” –Katie Derrick, ItWorks

6. “We’re fortunate to be in San Diego, where the weather is beautiful year around. But in the summer months, it’s just perfect outside, so we let our employees work half days on Fridays from June through August. This gives everyone a little extra time to go to the beach and enjoy some time off. It also encourages everyone to get their work done faster.” –Kevin Drolet, cThru Media 

 7. “Because summer is our slow season, but also a time when our associates want to spend more time with their families, each year we meet and talk about a week that everyone is off. It doesn’t count towards their normal two weeks off, but an added bonus. This gives everyone a chance to enjoy the weather and their families without dipping into their vacation time. It’s something we all look forward to each year.” –Jeff Moriarty, Moriarty’s Gem Art

8. “Our team members and employees all work from home, so they feel a sense of freedom and like they’re in control of their schedules every season, not just summer, but it’s especially appreciated in the summer months. As long as the work gets done, everyone’s on the same page, and we keep up the communication, anyone can work from anywhere. This is especially great for traveling in the summer.” –Chris Brantner, Founder of

9. “My business partner Stacy Royal and I know that employees relish Fridays in the summer. These days are precious, especially in the Northeast where winter comes too soon and lasts too long. We offer summer Fridays, closing the shop from Memorial Day through Labor Day at 2pm and – thanks to a cloud-based computer system, allow employees to work from anywhere they wish on the planet on summer Fridays. We also always host one summer social event, such as an afternoon Escaping the Room and enjoying lunch at a trendy downtown eatery. 

Because our team travels extensively for work, we recognize and respect their private time. Decker/Royal is a NY-based PR company specializing in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.” –Cathleen Decker, Decker/Royal

10. “We host tons of events during the summer to keep employees motivated and happy at work. We host a company picnic and join local 5K races. On Fridays and weekends, we encourage employees to wear shorts and sandals to the office. We also cool down during our company happy hour on the last Friday of the month.” –Terese Kerrigan FreightCenter, Inc

11. “Summer is our busiest season, so we recognize the importance of keeping our employees incentivized and motivated. If our employees aren’t empowered to do their best, we fall short on our promises to our customers.

Our company culture is so important to us, and we make sure to celebrate and sustain it with fun activities in spring and summer. We have a real work hard, play hard mentality. We have a big family picnic to celebrate all the hard work our team puts in, with rides and games for the kids and plenty of delicious food. This year, we decorated one of our lawn service trucks and marched in our local Fourth of July parade. We also volunteer with a youth organization in our local area, and we got to participate in a Holi powder color war with the kids!” –Brad Leahy, Blades of Green

12. “We are a professional cleaning company that is changing the way cleaning companies operate. When it comes to incentivizing our staff, especially in the summer, we all work together to ensure everyone is happy. Our professional cleaners get to choose their own schedule and we rotate days off for them. Every girl gets a full weekend off every 2 weeks so they can spend time with their family during the summer months. As for the office staff, we give them the option of working a Saturday if they need a day off during the week as well. 

This works so well for us that no one ever calls out or leaves us high and dry. We found a great balance that keeps everyone happy, and that is key to running a successful business. Every person on our staff is treated like family, and we are all trained to help each other out. So if ever we need someone to help clean, or to run the office, everyone knows how to step into different roles to ensure that the business keeps running smoothly.” –Aziza Hana, 10BucksARoom

13. “We put on a season of “Summer Celebration” from Memorial Day to Labor Day where everyone is entered for a drawing of a sleep-in day, an extra day off, free lunch, long lunch or early release. Each week winner is announced, and everyone usually “wins” something once or twice per summer.” –Dr. Alex Roher M.D., San Diego Botox

14. “During the summer months, we have frequent office-wide contests where the winners will win movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, cash, or even extra time off. These kinds of rewards motivate our employees to go the extra mile, and it really shows them that we care. It’s a good way to have a little extra fun in the office.” –Scott Wesper, Arch Resources Group

15. “During the summer, everyone is thinking vacation. Working can feel like unending drudgery. One way we keep workers from resorting to mental vacations, distractions, and low productivity is to reward strong performance in the office with more time out of the office. We establish individual or collective goals, and once they’re achieved, we either close down the office for a day or let them clock out early. It motivates them today.” –David Kosmayer, Bookmark Website Builder

16. “When it’s summertime, we take a couple hours to go outside and enjoy lunch as a team. This energizes employees and gets everyone out of the office for a bit. It also provides excellent team bonding opportunities.” –Brandon Ramey, Kaminskiy Design & Remodeling