Destroy the Summer Slump

Car-washing competitions, unlimited vacation, and other ways bosses keep their charges going during the dog days

Illustration: Cari Vander Yacht for Bloomberg Businessweek

“We’re motivating our flight attendants with recognition programs, including monthly cash bonuses, bucket-list trip giveaways, and other prizes as a way to say thanks.”
Allison Ausband
Senior vice president for in-flight service, Delta Air Lines

“We foster year-round opportunities to work from home when needed, as well as flexible hours, which our team especially values during the warm months. At headquarters, we have lunch BBQs with live music so staff can take a break and enjoy the weather.”
Julie Bauer
President, Panasonic Consumer Electronics

Illustration: Cari Vander Yacht for Bloomberg Businessweek

“I establish what I need done and by when, and then allow everyone to figure out for themselves how to make that work. Keeping the air conditioner cranked and starting office happy hour early also helps.”
Michael Alter
Chief executive officer, Tie Bar

“Because a lot of people are out, this is a great time to do one-on-one time with direct reports. My team is spread out around the globe, so we use HireVue for video calls. It’s smart to call on your direct reports below the equator who are not feeling the summer slowdown.”
Oriana Vogel
Vice president for global recruitment and human resources operations, American Express

“We have an unlimited paid time-off policy, since high performance requires a sharp mind.”
John Boiler
Co-founder, 72andSunny

“We encourage employees to share travel stories and photos with colleagues. This reminds everyone to plan their vacations before the summer is over. In customer service, it’s important to be well-rested.”
Sharon Fernandez
Head of service operations, Farmers Insurance

Illustration: Cari Vander Yacht for Bloomberg Businessweek

“We are heads-down with the worldwide launch of our platform, so during these long days we’ll eat, run, and cycle together. For August, we have a luau picnic, a hackathon, soccer and pingpong tournaments, and, of course, show and tell for the new features we build.”
David Gurle
CEO, Symphony

“Summer is our busiest time, so we get creative: This year we’re having a companywide challenge on friendliness. I will hand-wash the car of each employee who sees the largest increase in team friendliness scores on guest satisfaction surveys.”
Kim Schaefer
CEO, Great Wolf Resorts

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