Summer Brings Freedoms, and Distractions, to the WorkplaceFan blowing on a businessman


With warm days returning to the office, professionals’ focus on their work is cooling. While the summer season invites workers to take things easy in the workplace, many are finding that those freedoms come at a cost.

All Play and No Work

Mangers will likely be feeling the heat this summer as professionals begin to prioritize personal time over professional commitments.  Projects will take a backseat with workers expected to take longer-than-usual lunch breaks (48%) and socialize with friends and co-workers (32%) more so this summer compared to other seasons, according to an Office Pulse study of 362 business professionals. Many professionals will also be curiously absent from work with summertime ‘fever’– 31% will plan ‘sick days’ strategically on Mondays and Fridays, and 26% will play hooky.

What lunchtime activity do you do most often in the summer? 

Going for a walk: 46%

Dining al desko (at your desk): 23%

Eating out: 17%

Brown bagging it al fesco: 7%

And just because professionals are at their cubicles doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being productive. Workers are expected to spend their time at the office shopping (19%), watching TV on their computer (9%) or searching for a new job (9%).

Summer, at a Cost

While taking longer lunches and having more time to socialize can elevate employee satisfaction, those summertime practices are not without their consequences. Despite 41% of workers reporting upticks in happiness during the summer, 19% said their stress increases. As employees spend more time away from their work and the workplace itself, the lack of focus threatens to disrupt workflows and drive down productivity. 51% of professionals reported increases in distractions, and 21% said they had a greater workload. At the same time, there were decreases in both attendance (17%) and productivity (17%).

How Casual is Too Casual?

Fortunately, many workplaces are sympathetic to the distractions that come with the warmer months. The most common ‘let it slide’ behavior during the summer is leaving early on a Friday, according to 56% of professionals. In fact, over 40% of companies offer a ‘Summer Friday’ option to employees as a way of improving engagement and productivity, a 2017 study found. Workers may get some leeway to extend their weekend by a few hours, but they shouldn’t count on doubling down by sleeping in on Monday. Just 13% said arriving late on Monday was an acceptable behavior in their workplace.

Who are the Summer Friday culprits?

Gen Xers
Baby Boomers

While professionals can push the envelope a bit on what they try to get away with during the summer, offices are far less tolerant when it comes to personal hygiene. An overwhelming 93% of professionals are unaccepting of their peers’ excessive perspiration, and 94% won’t let their co-workers’ poor grooming slide. And if you’re heading into the office after a day at the beach, you may want to take one of those ‘sick’ days instead: the majority of workers (96%) won’t tolerate their peers’ beach hair, and 98% won’t overlook their co-workers coming in tan after a ‘sick day.’

For some steadfast workers, summer days are nothing but just another work day: a third (31%) said they didn’t participate in any ‘let it slide’ behaviors and treated the summer like any other time of year. That’s in line with an Office Pulse study from last year.

Professionals’ biggest pet peeves in the summer

Lack of availability of co-workers: 41%
Inappropriate work attire: 30%
“Sent-from-my-iPhone” during work hours: 15%
Social media updates when “working from home”: 12%
Quirky out-of-office messages: 11%
Vacation TMI (e.g. posting too many photos): 10%

Popular Perks

Beyond the informal practices professionals adopt during the summer, some offices offer special perks for employees to take advantage of.

What summer perks does your office offer?

Casual summer dress code
Flexible work hours
Beer/Wine/BBQ Fridays

More offices are giving professionals the opportunity to choose when and where they work. Scores for telecommuting doubled since a similar Office Pulse study from 2017, when just 7% of workers said it was a summer option. Flexible work hours also increased from 15% in 2017.

Satisfaction with summer perks among professionals is mixed


This summer, professionals will need to strike a balance between slacking off and staying productive. While the season serves as a much-needed stress reliever, professionals will need to be careful that their time in the sun doesn’t leave them burnt-out at work.


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