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Home > News > July 2006 > 04 July 2006

Summer turns workers into shirkers, says survey

The sun doesn't shine that often in Britain, but when temperatures soar, office productivity can fall by nearly a quarter according to new research released today.

Office Angels, the office support and secretarial recruitment consultancy, polled 1,500 employees about their summertime working habits.

Over three quarters (78%) complained of working environments that stifled not only their creativity, but also their ability to get the job done.

The research found:

* A third (35%) of UK offices still don't have air conditioning, instead relying solely on open windows or fans. But at the same time, nearly a fifth of employees (18%) say heating dilemmas cause confrontation in the office, with colleagues unable to agree on how hot or cold the temperature should be, complaining of arctic conditions with units set to full blast.

* 81% of workers find it difficult to concentrate at work if the office temperature is higher than the norm

* 62% of these admitted that under hot and steamy conditions a typical task may take up to 25% longer than usual to complete

* 65% of male office workers are expected to wear shirt, jacket and tie all year round - regardless of soaring thermometers - making sitting at a desk or travelling to meetings 'unbearable'

* From open shirts to flip flops and shorts, a further 17% of staff have been reprimanded for wearing an unsuitable outfit to work in order to keep cool in the summer sun

* Two thirds of those polled (67%) admitted to suffering from School Holiday Syndrome, a legacy of the six week summer school break characterised by acute 'seasonal procrastination', the putting off of essential work tasks in favour of less taxing pastimes. With the high percentage of bosses on holiday during this time, over half (51%) of workers admit to 'slacking off,' by arriving late into work or taking extra long lunch breaks.

* Top of the work-shirk list is surfing the internet (44%), with finding last minute holidays the most popular distraction. Closely followed by watching sporting events (36%), summer clothing trends/shopping sites (21%); planning summer soirees with friends (14%) and looking up summer recipes (12%).

Commenting on the research, Paul Jacobs, managing director of Office Angels said: "Despite recently experiencing one of the hottest July days on record it seems some employers are failing to get the basics right when it comes to keeping their workforce happy.

"Small gestures make a big difference - allowing staff to dress according to the heat, investing in fans where needed and even encouraging staff to leave on time to enjoy the summer sun, will mean employees are far more comfortable, relaxed and able to get on with the job in hand. "

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