Trends such as ‘summer Fridays’ where people leave work early on Fridays during the summer months are becoming popular, but they can make managing a summer workforce even harder, says Adrian Lewis, Director at Activ People HR.
A 2022 report by PwC showed that 90 percent of its staff thought summer Fridays had a positive impact and 73 percent said it impacted their general wellbeing to a great extent – and they are now a permanent feature in their employee benefits package.
Other firms such as Kellogg’s introduced a summer hours scheme 20 years ago allowing their office-based staff to finish at 12pm on Fridays from May to September.
How can you successfully manage holidays?
Adrian says, “Managing a summer workforce can often be a real headache for employers as people go away on holiday or take ad hoc days off. Factor in summer Fridays and suddenly keeping track of where staff are and ensuring that its business as usual during the summer months is made even more challenging.
“On the flip side the wellbeing benefits of taking annual leave and time off, plus leaving early on Fridays shouldn’t be underestimated. A happy and rested workforce is a motivated and productive one after all. The key to making it work is forward planning, and having the right HR systems in place.”
A new survey from KPMG suggests that taking a summer holiday this year is still a priority despite the cost-of-living crisis with 41 percent planning to go abroad and 29 percent to holiday in the UK.
Other data earlier this year suggested a post-Covid rebound across the travel industry – so employers should expect a busy summer ahead with lots of people off on holiday in the coming weeks.
“Employers should brace themselves for what could be one of the busiest summer seasons since the pandemic and ensure they are fully prepared. For those that still rely on emails and spreadsheets it can become an administrative nightmare, which is not only time consuming but leave managers with inaccurate and outdated information.
“Going digital and using solutions such as absence management software can give instant access to accurate data on who is in and when, so managers can plan effectively and ensure workplaces have enough staff to operate business as usual.
“Digital systems track annual leave as well as other leave such as sickness, study and training days, so businesses always know who is in when at a the touch of a button. They can play a vital role in ensuring seamless operations during the peak summer holiday season, as well as providing year-round support and freeing up admin staff.
“They can also make it easier for firms to offer summer Fridays where it’s practical to do so, or implement alternatives such as different teams being off on different days over the month. For instance summer Thursdays or coming in later on Mondays.
“As the big summer holiday getaway is almost upon us, we recommend those that don’t currently have a digital system in place to consider implementing one to ensure its smooth sailing for their workforce planning over the coming months.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.