Spring fever can cause a list of predictable symptoms in employees including lateness, daydreaming and calling out sick to enjoy the sunshine. Good weather doesn’t always have to be a distraction. The backdrop of seasonal warmth can actually enhance certain routine business communications.
Take small group and one-on-one meetings outside for a change of scenery, along with the potential for a bit of exercise. Sunlight is not the answer to revive every management pow-wow. Stay indoors for the weekly staff update held around a table with fifteen or more people exchanging reports and information in a conference room. Unless the goal is climbing a tree or educating arborists greenery won’t add to learning during management skills training classes. And don’t drag a seasonal allergy sufferer into a grove of blooming cherry blossoms.
Three people reviewing strategy can reconvene in the park. Pull up a few chairs, present a couple of pages of information and share ideas with chirping birds for inspiration. The gaps in conversation and silence for thought won’t seem so long when the air is filled with the sounds of nature. One summer afternoon I called my boss before our weekly meeting and said, “Let’s walk to the park to talk today.” The change of setting put us both in a great mood as we marveled at the weather and the ease of uninterrupted discourse.
One-on-one discussion can flourish during a walk. Your environment and location will determine the pace and whether or not a change in footwear is needed. Even a casual stroll can lead to new insights. If you have an employee who lengthens appointments with too much conversation choose a route that will take the appropriate amount of time. Tell them, “We’re taking a 25 minute walk today to go over your progress on the project.” Remind the person of the time limit and the expectation that they will conclude as planned.
It might be hard to schedule regular outings, spontaneous or occasional forays into the outdoors will set the stage for continuation of this healthy habit. When the season cools grab a jacket and notice the changing colors that signal the need to begin planning for year-end.