By Jean Roque, President, Trupp HR.

Hang ten and avoid those summer sneaker waves.

The onset of summer infuses us with newfound energy, optimism, and eagerness to take in the warmth and beauty that accompanies this time of year. For employers, summer can bring a unique set of opportunities and challenges.  Here are some tips to help employers successfully ride the waves of summer.

1. Hire Summer Interns

Interns can be an ideal win-win, but companies should not assume that an intern should or can be a non-paid worker. If your company is planning on adding unpaid interns, make sure they meet the following requirements:

  • The internship should be similar to training which would be given in an educational environment and should be for the benefit of the intern.
  • The intern cannot displace your regular employees and must work under their close supervision of staff members.
  • Your company should not derive an immediate advantage from intern activities. In fact, your operations may even be impeded at times by having an intern.
  • The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
  • The intern clearly understands he/she is not entitled to wages.

>> Go to: Department of Labor Fact Sheet

2. Relax the Dress Code

Wondering how to deal with the company dress code during the summer months? Most employees appreciate a relaxed dress code during warm weather. Here are some considerations for your workplace.

  • To avoid wide interpretation of the dress code, define specifics such as what is acceptable and not acceptable “casual” attire, when dress code exceptions may apply (such as safety requirements or customer meetings), and how tattoos and body piercings will be handled.
  • Employers have considerable leeway in defining a dress code. Just make sure they are consistently applied and enforced, do not adversely impact a particular group of employees, or interfere with employee religious practices.
  • Regardless of the particulars of your dress code policy, the business justification should be clearly stated and the policy should align with your company’s mission and values.

3. Plan a Company Picnic

Company picnics continue to be a popular event for companies looking to have fun while building morale, strengthening teamwork, and showing appreciation to employees and their families. A few extra precautions can help ensure your company picnic doesn’t turn into a sneaker wave.

  • Dedicate sufficient time and energy to planning your event–including when and where to schedule your event, who will be invited, activities, food and beverages.
  • If you decide to serve alcohol at your company picnic, take steps to ensure consumption will not contribute to irresponsible behavior.
  • Communicate behavioral expectations prior to your event. The event sign-up time can be ideal for reminding employees of your company’s expectations.
  • To reduce risk of being held responsible for misconduct or injuries associated with the event, make it clear that this event is voluntary and not required as a condition of employment and schedule the event off of company property.

4. Enhance Employee Perks

Summer is a perfect time to add in seasonal perks that are meaningful to your employees while contributing to their productivity and job satisfaction. Some areas to consider include:

  • Relax. Adjust the formality of your workplace in areas such as dress code, work schedule, or even bringing pet companions to work.
  • Flex. Modify work schedules to allow employees to flex their hours and days and lunch breaks, take extended unpaid leaves, or work more frequently from home.
  • Celebrate. Summer is the perfect time to have small and large celebrations. Whether it’s a lunchtime barbecue, a team outing, or a company picnic, employees enjoy getting outside and having fun with coworkers.