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MANAGING STAFF

Why you might want to give your employees the summer benefits they want

What do your employees want this summer? In a recent survey from staffing firm Accountemps, employees said the best summer perks their companies could provide to them are flexible schedules (52 percent) and early departure on Fridays (27 percent).

But which perks are employers actually offering? Fifty-four percent of senior managers said flexible schedules, and only about one in three (32 percent) reported allowing staff to leave early on Fridays. Other common warm-weather benefits cited by companies were relaxed dress codes (53 percent) and activities such as picnics or potlucks (48 percent). Unfortunately, these were the least likely to win over employees, according to the survey.

What employees want

Employees were asked, “What is the best summer perk companies could offer?” Their responses:

  • Flexible schedules, 52%
  • Leaving early on Fridays, 27%
  • More relaxed dress code, 11%
  • Activities such as a company picnic or potluck, 10%

What employees are getting

Senior managers were asked, “Which of the following summer perks are offered at your company?” Their responses:*

  • Flexible schedules, 54%
  • More relaxed dress code, 53%
  • Activities such as a company picnic or potluck, 48%
  • Leaving early on Fridays, 32%
  • Our company does not offer any of these summer perks, 14%

*Multiple responses permitted.

Why it matters

“As we head into summer, workers’ wants are shifting,” said Michael Steinitz, senior executive director of Accountemps. “When it comes to recruitment and retention, it’s important to be aware of what will resonate with employees, as habits and lifestyles fluctuate throughout the year. Managers need to pay attention and help their teams achieve work-life balance.”

Steinitz added, “Offering workers increased flexibility in the summer can improve employee morale and make your company an attractive place to work. These perks come at little cost to companies but often go a long way in keeping staff happy and engaged.”

Perks and office productivity

In another survey, more than one-third of HR managers (34 percent) felt workers are less productive during the summer months, while another 34 percent said there’s no change in on-the-job performance.

Not planning well for vacations (32 percent) and unexpected absences (22 percent) were identified as the most common negative employee behaviors at this time of year, ahead of dressing too casually (19 percent), sneaking in late or leaving early (15 percent), and being mentally checked out (12 percent).

“It’s natural for employees to get distracted when the weather’s nice and thoughts turn to plans outside the office. But savvy companies maintain staff productivity and morale by embracing summer in the workplace,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. “Letting employees modify their schedules, leave early on Fridays or dress more casually when it’s hot out are easy ways to keep them loyal and engaged.”

Britton offers managers five tips to help staff make the most of summer at work:

  1. Perk up. Give employees more control over how they spend their time by offering flexible schedules and occasionally letting them leave early on Fridays. Just make sure policies are clear so business can continue as usual.
  1. Rally for rest. Remind workers to take time off, and set an example by doing so yourself.
  1. Venture out. Holding meetings outdoors or while taking a walk is a great way to get fresh air while accomplishing business objectives.
  1. Have some fun. Plan an ice cream break, picnic or group outing. Employees will appreciate being able to relax and bond with colleagues in a non-work setting.
  1. Dress down. Allow staff who aren’t patient-facing to wear more casual attire, as long as it doesn’t detract from work. You might even consider instituting themed Fridays where Hawaiian shirts or sports apparel are encouraged.

Editor’s picks:

7 employee benefits you can give to your staff at little or no cost


Telecommuters not working out? It’s not the flexibility that’s the problem; it’s your training program


The surprising answer to what your staff really wants


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