Ensuring a Productive Restart: Motivating Teams as They Return from the Summer Break

Philip Keezer
3 min readAug 30, 2023


In the immortal words of Jim Morrison, ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’. As the days get shorter and the warm summer breeze gives way to the crisp air of autumn, businesses are gearing up for a new season. The end of summer marks the return of employees from their well-deserved breaks, and as a business leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your teams hit the ground running.

Reenergizing your workforce after the summer break requires a thoughtful approach that blends motivation, engagement, and seamless reintegration. Here, Phil Keezer shares some practical tips to make the transition smooth and set the tone for a productive season ahead.

Welcome Back with Enthusiasm

A warm and enthusiastic welcome can set the tone for a positive return. Consider hosting a team breakfast, casual get-together, or even a short kick-off meeting to express your excitement about having everyone back. Acknowledge their time off, ask about their experiences, and show genuine interest in their well-being. This small gesture can create a sense of belonging and anticipation for the work that lies ahead.

Set Clear Objectives

After a break, it’s essential to re-establish focus and set clear objectives for the upcoming period. As teams return, discuss the company’s short-term and long-term goals, and how each team member’s role contributes to those objectives. Clarity on goals helps employees understand their purpose and motivates them to contribute their best.

Open Communication

Encourage open dialogue. Create an atmosphere where team members feel comfortable discussing their post-break challenges and aspirations. This could be achieved through one-on-one meetings, team huddles, or even anonymous suggestion boxes. By addressing concerns and providing a platform for input, you show that their voices matter, which can significantly boost morale.

Celebrate Achievements

Highlighting accomplishments, whether individual or team-based, can inspire employees to keep striving for excellence. Share success stories from the previous months, acknowledging the hard work that led to those victories. Celebrating achievements fosters a sense of pride and encourages teams to maintain their momentum.

Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

Coming back from a break can be tough, especially when transitioning from a more relaxed schedule. Consider implementing flexible work arrangements, allowing employees to ease back into their routines gradually. Additionally, emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, which contributes to long-term productivity and job satisfaction.

Professional Development Opportunities

Motivate your teams by offering opportunities for growth and skill development. Highlight upcoming training, workshops, or certification programs that can enhance their expertise. The prospect of learning something new and advancing in their careers can be a powerful motivator.

Small Rewards and Incentives

Implement a rewards system that recognizes and appreciates hard work. Consider offering small incentives such as gift cards, extra time off, or a team outing. These gestures, though modest, can go a long way in maintaining enthusiasm and a sense of appreciation.

Goal-Setting and Progress Tracking

Collaboratively set post-summer goals with your teams. Break down larger objectives into smaller, achievable milestones. Regularly track progress and provide feedback, celebrating each step forward. This approach maintains a sense of accomplishment and reinforces the notion that even the biggest goals are attainable with the right effort.

Encourage Team Bonding

Rekindle the team spirit by organizing bonding activities. These could range from team-building exercises to informal gatherings. Strengthening personal connections among team members enhances collaboration, communication, and ultimately, productivity.

Lead by Example

As a leader, your attitude and behavior set the tone for the entire team. Exhibit a strong work ethic, enthusiasm, and a positive outlook. Your energy and dedication will inspire your team to follow suit.

In conclusion, as summer fades and business operations regain full momentum, motivating your teams to hit the ground running is paramount. By incorporating these practical tips — welcoming with enthusiasm, setting clear goals, maintaining open communication, celebrating achievements, promoting work-life balance, offering growth opportunities, providing incentives, setting and tracking goals, encouraging team bonding, and leading by example — you can ensure a smooth and productive transition. The combined effort of a motivated team will not only contribute to immediate success but also foster a work environment that continues to thrive throughout the year.

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Philip Keezer

I’m Philip J. Keezer, president and founder of management consulting firm Grindstone Capital. Dedicated to hard work, learning, positivity and accountability.