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Avoid Getting Burned By Low Productivity This Summer

It may be hard to believe; summer is nearly here!  And although summer is often seen as a slowdown season for employee productivity, there are ways that employers can maximize employee satisfaction and efficiency.  One approach that has been gaining popularity over the last several years is flexible summer scheduling.

Why consider flexible summer scheduling?  Ultimately, it’s good for business!  Contrary to popular belief, working more hours does not result in higher productivity.  In fact, productivity drops sharply when employees work more than 50 hours each week.  However, according to statistics, flexible work scheduling arrangements increase employee morale and engagement, which results in higher productivity.  This is especially important in summer, when 45% of employees report that they generally feel more distracted. 

In addition to increased productivity, flexible summer scheduling can help with recruitment and retention efforts.  Over three-quarters of Millennials say flexible scheduling makes a prospective employer more attractive.  And according to research, 42% of companies offered summer flexible scheduling last year, an increase of more than 20% since 2015. In a competitive hiring market, offering non-traditional benefits like flexible summer scheduling can set companies apart.

How is a summer schedule designed?  A flexible summer schedule can and should be designed to be attractive for the employee, but also feasible for the employer.  While some employers may define specific days/times of the summer workweek, others allow for employees to coordinate with the manager. Ultimately, the specific needs of the company and clients or customers will determine what type of summer work hour policy to implement.

There are a number of different summer scheduling options that can be implemented, including:

  • Shortened workday on multiple days
  • Early closing on Friday or shortened workday
  • Change in core hours/scheduled shift  
  • Compressed work week (i.e. four 10-hours days)

When developing a summer scheduling program, keep in mind the following:

  • Timing of the program. Be sure to communicate when the summer schedule starts and ends. We typically see these types of programs run from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
  • Organizational goals. Your summer scheduling program should align with the company’s objectives and goals and the requirements of your clients or customers.  Even programs that allow for coordination between managers and employees should provide general guidelines on expectations.
  • Exceptions. There may be times when all employees, or just a few, will need to work a regular schedule.  Be prepared as to how you will communicate this and determine if there are other options or benefits that can be provided to these employees.
  • Evaluation. Let employees know, upon implementation, that the program will be evaluated and may be changed at any time due to business demands. 
  • Encouragement.  A summer flexible scheduling program won’t be effective if employees don’t feel that they can use it.  Be sure that managers are encouraging employees to adjust their schedules and that employees don’t feel that they will be penalized for taking advantage of the benefit.

Ultimately, flexible summer scheduling is an inexpensive perk that can result in higher employee morale, lower turnover, and greater productivity. If you are a helpline client and would like a sample flexible scheduling policy or some advice on creating this program, feel free to reach out to the helpline at

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HR Works, Inc., headquartered in Upsate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.