Weather: HOT. Employee Motivation? NOT.

Not so hot, that is. If your team's productivity, engagement and motivation flag during the summer months, use these fun ideas to rally your troops:

Create Summer Hours

Nobody wants to be trapped in the office until 6:00 on a beautiful summer day. Summer hours can be a great way to boost morale, keep productivity high and show the team you value work-life balance.

Many companies operate a simple program where employees can come up to two hours early, as long as they work a complete shift. So, if an employee's normal workday is 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., they could work 7:00 to 4:00 or 8:30 to 5:30, etc.

If this seems too difficult to track every day, limit the flex days to Fridays. Make sure your program has a defined start and end date and ensure an accurate documentation method for tracking start times.

Lighten Up the Dress Code

Restrictive office clothing can be downright stifling in the summertime. You don't have to toss your dress code out entirely, but offer Casual Fridays and the occasional "Jeans Day" in the summer. This gives employees a break from the norm and can instantly boost everyone's mood.

Just make sure that casual days are scheduled ahead of time and be clear about the rules of appropriate attire.

Encourage Vacations

Employees need time to relax and recharge away from the office. Empower your employees to enjoy their vacation time. Assign backups for each person, and create documented protocols for handling issues while someone is on vacation. Discourage your team from contacting vacationing colleagues, and by all means, when someone hands you a vacation request, don't make them feel guilty.

Host Friday Potluck Picnics

People love a good potluck, and summer Fridays are a great time to have them. It lets employees gather together with one another, relax, and if they want to, enjoy some time outdoors. You can take this idea even further and host chili contests or baking contests for the culinary whizzes on your team.

Plan a Company Event

Summertime is a great time for a company-wide event that includes employees' families. You can rent a pavilion at a local park, or schedule an outing with a local sports team, amusement park or other family-oriented destination.

Hire an Ice Cream Truck

Surprise your staff on a hot summer day with a complementary visit from the ice cream truck. The truck is likely to draw people from other nearby businesses, so work with the ice cream company ahead of time.

Offer each employee a ticket or voucher and have the truck driver keep track of the orders from your company, so that you can accurately square up the bill. The surprise and the touch of nostalgia, not to mention a cool treat, will instantly boost everyone's mood.

Take Staff Meetings Outdoors

If you find your team tends to stare wistfully out the window while you're trying to talk about expense reports, don't fight it. When the weather permits, take your meetings outside. The fresh air and Vitamin D might even generate some amazing new ideas.

Keep the Office Comfy

Yes, you must watch expenses, but nobody can be productive in a hot office. You can't please everyone with the thermostat, to be sure. There will always be someone who is too hot or too cold. But make every effort to keep it comfortable so you aren't sweating out your team.

Nip Low Productivity in the Bud

Everyone is vulnerable to an unproductive day from time to time, but if an employee truly seems distracted by the weather, check in with them to see what's going on. A conversation that lets them know you've noticed could be enough to get their head back in the game. They might not be aware there is an issue, or there might be some underlying cause for their decreased performance. In either case, it's far better to speak up sooner rather than later.

Ask Employees What They Want

The best way to figure out how to keep motivation high in the summer is to ask your team what they want and need from you. Check in with them to see how they are feeling about the programs you've instilled and solicit ideas for future summer motivation.