Canadians Seek Out Summer Office Perks

Office worker on vacation

The summer heat is finally setting in and office workers are gazing longingly out the window, dreaming of a rejuvenating vacation in the sun. Not all offices are created equal when it comes to summer perks, however, and many may find it harder to get away from the daily grind. An Office Pulse survey of 188 Canadian business professionals found that nearly half (44%) of respondents did not have any seasonal advantages at their office.


The Perks of Being a White-Collar Worker?

Getting through the workday when the sun is out is a tad easier when your workplace helps cater to the season. For those lucky offices who did receive perks, the most common were a more casual dress code (29%) and more flexible work hours (30%) – two advantages that should (at least in theory) help to create a more relaxed environment. Some employers bring the party to the office with Beer or BBQ Fridays (11%), though more and more Canadians have the option to telecommute during the summer months. This ability to work out-of-office jumped from 8% to 14% this year compared to 2018.

When asked which perks they wish they had, a majority (52%) said they’d opt for more flexible hours. Women were especially keen to increase their options in this regard, with 62% hoping to adjust their hours compared to just 40% of men.

What summer perks do you wish your office offered? 

Though it seems offices are trying to accommodate a more modern and probably mildly overheated staff, just 37% of Canadians report being at least somewhat satisfied with their current summertime work policies. That’s a significant drop when compared to their U.S. counterparts, 45% of which are satisfied with their summer perks. This ambivalence could be an important factor for Canadians when considering job opportunities. A significant Millennials were the biggest shoppers for summer upsides, with 38% saying they would leave their current gig if the grass was greener elsewhere. The most alluring wish list items were flexibility and more vacation time.

Percentage of workers who would be enticed to leave their current company for perks

Millennials (38%)
Gen X (27%)
Baby Boomers (21%)

Vacation is Sacred

Considering the relative brevity of the warmer months, Canadians try to make the most of the season before our infamous winter sets in. Some 72% plan to take a vacation this summer, compared to just 62% of American workers. Millennials are the most likely to skip their holiday time, with 38% sticking it out in-office. The most common reasons being that they are too busy at work (33%) or had already used up all their vacation time (28%).

Do you plan to take a vacation this summer?


Sometimes it’s hard to disconnect from the office, even when at the beach. Despite the real risk of getting sand in their phone, 39% of Canadians say they will still monitor their emails during vacation, though that number is slight compared to nearly half (47%) of U.S. workers. While Millennials are less likely to get away after May, when they do escape the office they know how to unplug. Surprisingly members of the most tech obsessed generation are least likely to respond to work emails when out of office, with just under a quarter (24%) willing to connect, compared to 29% of Gen Xers and 36% of Baby Boomers.

Percentage of workers who plan to respond to emails while on vacation

Baby Boomers (36%)
Gen X (29%)
Millennials (24%)

Almost half (47%) of Canadian respondents will not do any work at all while on vacation, and the trend of making the most of hot-weather holidays continues with the amount of time taken off. A significant 30% of Canadian panellists who are going on vacay this summer are planning to take over 10 days off—that’s three times the mere 10% of Americans planning to do the same. That number jumps to 55% when looking solely at Canadians over age 55. The most common amount of vacation was 6-10 days (37%). Those who are stuck at the office, however, have some potentially annoying behaviours to contend with.

Hawaiian Shirts Surf Into the Board Room

Keeping cool and concentrated can be a bit of a challenge when officemates flaunt rules and shirk responsibilities. Trying to coordinate on a project and getting an out-of-office reply, seeing vacation pics from a “sick” co-worker, or warring over the thermostat can all contribute to a need to get away in the summer.

When asked to choose the most annoying summer behaviour in the office, 57% of respondents across North America chose others’ lack of availability. The second worst occurrence, at 54%, was thermostat drama, followed closely by others playing hooky or strategically using sick days (53%)—though an honourably (and suspiciously) high 49% of Canadians claimed they would not use sick days for summer fun.

  • 39% say their happiness increases in the summer

  • 44% say their distractions increases in the summer

  • 21% say their stress decreases in the summer

Many Canadians feel free to dress for the weather in the hot and humid months, with 28% saying they dress casually during this period, compared to 18% in cooler temps. Baby Boomers seem to feel the heat most acutely, with 42% dressing casually in the summer versus 16% normally. Though ‘liberties with the dress code’ was not the most aggravating behaviour in the eyes of office workers, there are some standout outfits that made an impression.

Most egregious dress code violations

  • Ripped t-shirt

  • Mini skirt & crop top

  • Hawaiian shirt

  • Flip flops & damp feet

  • Raptors gear

Though we can safely assume no one is advocating for the removal of all Raptors paraphernalia from the workplace, it wouldn’t hurt to be mindful of the dress code while still staying cool! Distractions during the summer can be a bit of an issue, but business professionals can combat the heat-induced haze by taking full advantage of their vacation time. Unplug your computer, crank up the AC and take that well-deserved vacay.


About Office Pulse

Office Pulse by Captivate offers marketers timely analysis and insights from a proprietary panel of upscale professionals in the top markets. The Office Pulse panel of more than 8,000 influential consumers and business decision makers includes C-level executives, Millennials, middle management, small business owners, working women and working moms.

About Captivate

Known for its vast network of nearly 12,000 elevator displays located in 1,600 premier office buildings across North America, Captivate connects advertisers with 13 million unique monthly viewers through creative, research-driven and Nielsen-measured advertising and marketing programs. By engaging its viewers with timely news and actionable information that helps balance the personal and professional demands of the workday, Captivate provides advertisers with a highly desirable and difficult-to-reach audience of affluent and influential business professionals. Founded in 1997, Captivate is owned by Generation Partners. For more information, please visit