Tuesday 20 August 2019 5:30 am

What to do about staff skipping work for the beach

Jamie Mackenzie is director at Sodexo Engage.

We’ve heard it all before: “my cat is having kittens”, “I’ve hurt my back”, “I’ve got food poisoning”, “my bathtub fell through my ceiling”, or “my car broke down”.

When the sun is out, employees might feel inclined to use one of these excuses in order to skip work and do something a little more fun. 

If you’re a manager, instead of wondering if your employee is sacking off work in order to watch the cricket, why not address the issue head-on? 

With presenteeism growing as a problem, and the summertime statistically being a period when productivity falls across the board, there are some easy ways that employers can encourage their employees to enjoy the summer. This would help staff to achieve a better work-life balance and be fully present and productive when they’re actually in the office. 

Summer hours  

Research shows that 63 per cent of workers confess to leaving the office early to enjoy some sun, so why not offer shorter or flexible working hours to boost your team’s productivity and motivation? 

An earlier finish can work wonders in the summer, as it enables employees to spend time with their families, pursue leisure activities, or enjoy some more socialising. 

Letting employees start and finish an hour earlier in summer shows a willingness to accommodate their personal lives, and yet actually changes very little of the working day structure. Any important meetings or tasks can still happen during core hours, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

The kids are alright 

The average cost for one week of childcare is £138 per child. That adds up to £828 over the six-week summer break. 

While some parents can schedule in a big chunk of holiday during the summer months, others have to fork out the cash for childcare or beg grandparents to look after the kids. 

On top of that, the cost of keeping children entertained can leave parents with a hole in their bank account too. With all this, it’s easy to see how the summer can become more of a dread than a delight. 

The good news is that employers can implement some easy benefits to help staff out. This can include easy access to childcare facilities on site or work-from-home days. 

Employers can also help reduce the cost burden that parents face by offering discounts on family days out, or even cinema vouchers, allowing families to enjoy time together without worrying about the money. 

These may seem like small gestures, but companies that have introduced family-friendly measures often report significant reductions in absenteeism.

Time to celebrate 

Everyone looks forward to the Christmas party, so why not plan a summer party too? Just think how much the team will enjoy wearing shorts or dresses and eating some delicious food provided by the company. 

The chance to relax outside, unwind with colleagues, and feel rewarded for a job well done is the perfect way to enjoy the summer as a team. 

If a big party is out of the question, why not invite the team for a picnic outside, or an outdoor sporting activity after work? These can help to bring staff together and encourage them to take a break from the screen. 

Summertime doesn’t have to be marred by distracted workers or questionable sick days; employers can do many things to help employees thrive both inside and outside of work. 

By encouraging employees to work flexibly in the summer months, assisting parents with childcare during school holidays, and celebrating together in the sunshine, businesses can inspire loyalty and investment from their employees all year round.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

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