With the right to request flexible working being opened up
to all employees from the end of this month, and the summer holidays well upon
us, employers might find themselves considering the benefits of introducing
flexible working arrangements such as summertime hours.
What are summertime hours?
Well, they vary from company to company but some of the most
common practices are:
Who's doing it and why?
- Half day Fridays;
- A shortened work day on multiple days;
Compressed working weeks;
Working from home one day a week.
This is not a new concept. Summer Fridays were
introduced by New York ad agencies in the 1960s. Now an increasing
number of companies including McDonnalds, Microsoft and Pfizer have followed in
their footsteps and offer their employees summertime hours.
They can be an effective tool for increasing productivity
and improving employee morale by helping employees achieve that elusive
work-life balance (if only for the summer months!)
It can increase employee retention and be an incentive for
attracting new talent, as well as reducing lateness and absences. Employees
also benefit when working from home from cuts in commuting time and costs.
.....and the cons?
Having adequate staffing levels and enough productivity are
the biggest obstacles because business is not always slower during the summer.
This can result in an inability to meet customer needs or business
An increase in stress levels for employees if they need to
make up for lost hours, or a reduction in staff morale where a business in
unable to offer summertime hours to all.
What should employers consider before implementing summertime hours?
- Consider whether all staff will be able to participate and the consequences if not. What about hourly paid, part time and shift workers?
a policy in place which enables an employer to change summer working
arrangements when the needs of the business require.
the policy is clear as to what is expected of staff. There will be times when
staff will need to forego the summer hours when the business demands.
managers to ensure that the agreed upon arrangements are maintained.
implemented ensure that systems and checks will be in place to monitor
performance and productivity to ensure that the arrangement is still working.