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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 06 July 2021
  • Alex Penfield

Summer Perks for Small Businesses

After all of the unexpected and the unknown, the turbulence and the turmoil, the world finally seems to be getting back on its feet. As the economy ramps back up, stir-crazy customers are turning out in droves for the services and products they’ve missed out on over the past year and a half. Shoppers are more than ready for a summer of spending, but is your small business?

man drinking coffee on a balcony

The recent pandemic has changed the face of the workplace, and small businesses are no exception. Flexible schedules and remote work have become the norm instead of the exception, and people have discovered a new sense of balance when it comes to their work and personal lives. So what does all of this mean as a small business owner? To stay competitive, it may mean taking a second look at the benefits you’re offering to employees, especially during the summer months when your staff needs to stay engaged and satisfied while attending to the anticipated increase in customer demand. Below are a few employee perks to keep in mind as you create a summer business strategy that may help keep staff morale high and make this summer the best ever for your small business.

Perk up: Creating an attractive workplace through company culture and employee perks can help to attract and retain talent and keep your small business running smoothly. Even pre-pandemic, employees placed having a flexible schedule during the summer months on the top of their wish list, followed by the ability to leave early on Fridays, according to a survey by staffing firm Accountemps. And with workplaces becoming even more flexible, fringe benefits like these have become vital during the summer months. However, it’s important to note that every small business situation is different, so it may be worth brainstorming ways to provide employees with incentives with your unique business needs in mind. If your staff is mostly remote, this may mean creating a “no-meeting” mandate on Fridays. Traditional brick-and-mortars can look to work with their staff to create a more flexible schedule during the summer months that allows employees the opportunity to plan long weekend trips. Every little bit helps. Even a surprise iced-coffee run “on the house” can boost morale and make your employees feel like a valued part of the company culture.

Work on wellness: Last year taught us a renewed focus on wellness in the workplace, and every company, regardless of size or industry, can get in on the goodness. Wellness initiatives can vary in scope and form depending on the needs of your staff and business operation, from offering mental health afternoons to being proactive about cleanliness protocols to simply suggesting employees get some fresh air during the workday. Small gestures and a culture of appreciation that show you are keeping your employees’ health and happiness top of mind can go a long way in keeping your staff content and motivated during the busy summer months.

Wind down: As a small business owner, it’s easy to forget yourself when you’re trying to stay on top of managing employees, attracting customers, and balancing expenses. But the fact is that without you, your business can’t run, so keeping yourself motivated, energized and happy should be a top priority. Summer is the perfect opportunity to take some time for yourself, even in small ways. Get refreshed with a staycation, hit the beach without your cell phone or simply sleep in! Being a small business owner is a 24/7 commitment, and while you may be following your passion, you still need to hit the pause button every once in a while. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup!

While this may shape up to be one of the hottest summers on record for small businesses, it’s not without challenges. Keep in mind that most small business owners are in a similar boat when it comes to attracting and retaining employees, infrastructure obstacles and operational shifts while navigating the new ways of working. This summer and beyond, consider making the task of creating employee perks a team effort by including all the stakeholders — owners, employees, even customers — when making decisions so that everyone is on board with the way the summer will run.

Lastly, remember to enjoy the ride. Owning a small business is a roller coaster, even in the best of times, but things like being able to treat yourself and being able to treat your employees are what make it all worth it.

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