Just the idea of summer creates thoughts of palm trees and pool sides. Many parents take off during the season to vacation with their kids, and employers lose productivity. In an effort to thwart the summer doldrums at work, many employers are starting to offer their employees alternate work schedules during vacation season. Here's more about the perks being offered and how they benefit employees:
What Summer Hours Look Like
Summer schedules vary by company. For catalog company QCI Direct, employees in the production department come in early and stay late to rack up hours. They can also work half a day on Fridays, says QCI copywriter Kyra Mancine.
Other companies offer employees the option of working from home one day a week. This helps cut commuting time and costs and gives workers more flexibility in their schedules.
Which Benefits Are Available for Companies
Does a flexible schedule mean more productivity? Sixty-six percent of those who have summer schedules say yes, according to a survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for AOC Marketing Research. They feel they have a better handle on work-life balance during the summer, which frees them up to spend more time with their families.
"Summer hours give my people that extra boost of energy to be more productive," says Jeanne Wind, vice president of merchandising at QCI Direct. "We've found it to be a perk that employees really look forward to."
Many employees take fewer vacation days as a result of having longer weekends and more flexible schedules, which means more productivity for employers.
For some companies, summer hours have been such a success they have looked into other ways to reward employees.
"Since our summer hours policy went into effect, employees have been more productive than ever," says Michael Mahoney, vice president of consumer marketing for GoHealthInsurance.com. "GoHealth figured, why stop there? The same year, we decided to implement an unlimited vacation policy. Much like with summer hours, we've found our employees appreciate the freedom but don't abuse it. On average, they have been taking the same amount of vacation time as before but strategically plan the trips around their workload."
In this time of economic uncertainty, many companies find offering flexibility in scheduling serves as an employee perk, especially when many cannot afford to offer raises or bonuses. Offering summer hours can also serve as an incentive in attracting talent to new openings within the company.
How to Make A Summer Schedule Work for You
If you think offering employees a flexible schedule in the summer would boost morale, make the case to your boss. Outline the benefits for the company (better productivity, happier workers to make your case.
Keep in mind that not every type of role is suitable for leaving work early on Fridays. Many positions (like customer-service oriented jobs) are on a time schedule, and leaving early would disrupt operations. Identify which departments at your company have roles that can be completed earlier in the week without causing a disruption in sales or service.
Offering summer hours is a great way to let employees know they are appreciated. It also gives them a sense of freedom during those warm summer months.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.
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