Thirty-eight percent of workers say that the summer benefit they would most like to have is a flexible schedule, making it the most coveted benefit, according to a survey by the staffing firm OfficeTeam.
After flexible schedules, leaving early Friday (32 percent of respondents) was the second most coveted summer benefitt. Company activities (6 percent) such as picnics and relaxed dress codes (5 percent) were less coveted.
"Employees appreciate flexibility in their jobs because it gives them greater control and enables them to handle other commitments without sacrificing their work performance," said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam.
Flexible scheduling is an inexpensive way to keep employees motivated, says Hosking. Hosking suggested that businesses stagger workers' schedules to maximize the total number of hours employees are available to assist customers.
"Companies should pilot flexible schedule programs before rolling them out permanently," Hosking recommended. "This gives businesses time to evaluate the impact on workflow and productivity."
Even if companies aren't able to implement flexible schedules, allowing employees to occasionally leave early on Fridays can have a positive effect on morale, Hosking noted.
"Many workers schedule weekend trips during the summer and appreciate a head start on their travels," he said.
The survey included 457 workers who are employed in an office environment.