Giving employees flexible work hours in the summer might improve loyalty and morale, but at the cost of productivity.
A survey of over 600 white-collar workers in North America by Captivate Network, a digital media company, found that about half of those surveyed (49%) report working for an organization that offers summer hours (telecommuting, four 10-hour day workweeks, etc.), and the same percentage report a decrease in efficiency.
Of employees who leave early on Fridays, 53% report a drop in personal productivity, and 23% of those who make up for fewer Friday hours by working longer hours from Monday to Thursday report that their stress levels increase.
"These are surprising—and perhaps unwelcome—findings," said Mike DiFranza, president of Captivate Network. "On the face of it, summer hours probably seem like a terrific idea and are welcome by all. Unfortunately, the impact is almost uniformly negative. Given the state of the economy and the unease felt by many workers, perhaps it's time to reconsider these types of policies."
Summertime itself may be to blame, however: the survey respondents reported that during the summer months their productivity goes down (20%), attendance dips (19%), project turnaround times increase (13%) and they are more distracted (45%).