Canadian Underwriter

Flexible schedule tops list of summer wants

May 14, 2019   by Adam Malik

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When it comes to summer perks, Canadian employees want their bosses to give them a more flexible schedule.

Almost half (49%) of the 400 respondents to a survey from staffing firm Accountemps said they wanted more opportunities to work from home and have condensed days. So-called “Summer Fridays” that allow employees to leave early before the weekend came in second at 38%.

Group activities like a picnic or potluck came a distant third at 7% and a more relaxed dress code rounded out the wish list at 6%.

As for what companies actually offer, 55% of 600 senior Canadian managers interviews said flex schedules and relaxed dress codes policies are in place, while picnics and potlucks were hosted by nearly half (47%) of companies. More than one-third (36%) said they allow staff to leave early on Fridays.

Some insurance companies offer additional perks, like paid days off for volunteer work.

“Typically, we find that more employees use these days in the summer time – either on their own or through outdoor, team-building experiences with their larger team,” said Aviva Canada’s chief people officer Danny Davies.

Intact offers $350 per calendar year for wellness that can go towards park passes, fitness classes, retreats and more. The company takes a different spin on a relaxed dress code, offering employees the option to dress for whatever their daily activities include. “For example, when meeting with customers, we see that our employees would dress in regular business attire, and on days where they have no meetings, some choose to wear jeans or adopt a casual dress code,” Intact told Canadian Underwriter.

Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for Accountemps in Canada, pushed the importance of listening to employees. If they desire flexible schedules and the ability to leave early on Fridays, doing so can increase morale and productivity around the office – especially when summer can be a slower time of year. “Perks like team barbecues or early dismissal are easy to implement and go a long way toward keeping staff satisfied and motivated,” she said.

They’re also an attractive marketing tool when hiring.

“The importance of work-life balance, in any season, can’t be overstated in today’s tight hiring market,” Vasilopoulos said. “As competition for skilled talent persists, top professionals receiving multiple job offers will choose employers who can offer the options and benefits they want.”