OK, everyone knows the pace in the office tends to slow a bit during the dog days of summer. People take vacation and almost everyone seems a little more easygoing. But you probably don’t want people this easygoing.  

The folks at CareerBuilder.com (who else?) recently compiled a list of employee activities that aren’t exactly the types of things that normally lead to optimum productivity.

Wrestling, the proven morale-builder

Take a look at this checklist of employee chicanery and be happy these folks don’t work for you:

  1. A married employee was looking at a dating website and then denied it – even though the site was still up on his computer screen.
  2. One employee was caring for her pet bird that she had smuggled into the office.
  3. An employee was caught shaving her legs in the women’s restroom.
  4. A prankster employee was lying under boxes to scare people.
  5. Two staffers were having a wrestling match.
  6. One employee was sleeping, but claimed to be praying.
  7. The employee was taking selfies in the bathroom.
  8. This employee was changing clothes in a cubicle.
  9. One industrious employee was printing off a book from the Internet.
  10. Another employee was warming her bare feet under the bathroom hand dryer.
  11. And one from the winter: An employee was found blowing bubbles in sub-zero weather. He wanted to see if the bubbles would freeze and break.

OK. As we’ve said, summer’s usually a little more relaxed than other times of the year. But you don’t want to totally derail productivity just because the weather’s nice.

Keep things light and still productive

Here are a few strategies your managers can use to inject some lightheartedness into summers at the office while still getting the job done:

  • Set some new goals. Goals you set at the start of the year may have either been met or lost momentum by this point. Mid-year is a great time to come up with a few new things to strive for as a department and individually.
  • Try a contest. The department’s top performer might get to come in an hour late or leave an hour early to get a jump on Friday afternoon beach traffic. (Just make sure every staffer is eligible for whatever type of contest you set so no one feels slighted.)
  • Bring summer inside. Bringing in ice cream or Italian ice one afternoon would be a welcome distraction. And don’t discount the pleasures of summers past – a bottle of bubbles for each staffer will cost little more than a trip to the dollar store but can bring a wave of nostalgia that would pay off in a productivity boost for the rest of the day.

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