104This post was featured in The Sustainable Business Forum.

With summer upon us and sunshine beaming into cubicles everywhere, employees are feeling antsy.  Daydreams of sandy beaches and pina coladas occupy brain real estate once reserved for work logistics; it’s impossible to stop the mind from wandering off to Hawaii, and don’t even pretend you’re not packing your mental bags just like the rest of us.  But worry not – there’s plenty you can do to avoid total employee mental breakdown.

That’s where employee engagement activities become so useful.  As attention spans wane, interactive activities centered around employee volunteer programs can help snap employees back to the present.  These sort of do-gooder activities can unite the team around a common cause while giving staff something to look forward to during the work day, all of which improves employee retention.

So if you want to a) rock employees out of their daydreams, while b) providing a great bonding opportunity for your organization, all in the process of c) doing something positive for the community, here are some ideas:

  1. Create a volunteer day.

    Summer is the perfect time for employees to help an organization in the community. Creating a volunteer day offers employees the opportunity to get out of the office, do some great work for others and re-energize themselves. Using this as a workday event will also encourage those who might not usually volunteer to get out and help, which can lead to more volunteering and goodwill towards your company.

  2. Start a recycling program.

    There are a number of ways organizations can help the environment, but creating a sustainability activity with a clear goal in mind can be the best way to encourage action and unite your team. Starting a drive to recycle old electronics, for example, adds an end goal while focusing attention around one cause. Add an extra incentive for reaching a milestone and your employees will be clamoring to work together so they can win together.

  3. Take a page from hacktivists.

    By focusing on your company’s talents, you can create a skills-based volunteeringprogram that encourages company-wide participation.  For tech companies,hackathons have become popular ways to develop sustainable solutions to societal issues.  What is your company’s core competency? Identify your organization’s “secret sauce” and host a day where your employees use what they know best to solve a real-world problem.

  4. Wage a donation drive.

    A summer-long donation drive can be just what your company needs to rally around one cause.  Whether it’s a straightforward fundraiser or a fundraising competition (if you choose to gamify things a bit), donation drives can be a gateway to do-gooder good times.  For example, you can raise funds for local schools and then wrap it all into an end of summer event, like a trip to an amusement park where your employees spend the day with the families they helped. That way they see the benefit of their efforts and can keep their morale as high as the summer temperatures all season long.


So put down that mental margarita and pick up a cause.  Socially conscious activities don’t need to be complicated in order to engage your employees, just cohesive.



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