According to an OfficeTeam survey, flexible schedules (41 percent) and leaving work early on Fridays (28 percent) are the most coveted summer benefits. Of course, working from a virtual office gives employees the ultimate flexibility, allowing professionals to wake up early and get a head start on the day so they can take off before the sun sets.
The OfficeTeam survey also shows employers may be warming up to these perks: Seventy-five percent of human resources managers interviewed said their company offers flexible schedules during the summer, and 63 percent noted that workers are allowed to leave early on Fridays. Virtual offices weren’t specifically mentioned in the survey, but virtual offices are a proven enabler of more productive work, which makes leaving early more feasible.
"Workers appreciate having more control over their schedules as they juggle personal and professional obligations," says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Organizations that don't offer summer benefits in some form may be missing out on a way to increase employee morale and retention."
Workers were asked, "Which of the following summer benefits would you most like to have?" Their responses:
- 41% said flexible schedules
- 28% said leave early on Fridays
- 11% said activities such as a company picnic or potluck
- 5% said more relaxed dress code
"Businesses introducing flexible work arrangements should establish clear policies to ensure productivity isn't negatively affected," Hosking adds. "It's beneficial to stagger schedules and cross-train individuals so there's always staff coverage. Conducting regular check-ins with team members who have alternate hours also helps keep projects on track."
Hosking makes a good point—and it’s true all year round for virtual office workers. Policies, schedules and check-ins should be in place to ensure maximum productivity and to keep the work on track. But summer time, when kids are home from school, is a strategic time to explore how flexible working and virtual offices can make happier, more well balanced employees.