Summer Perks: Workers Just Want Flexibility

Man working on laptop at beach

They call them dog days for a reason. When the summer weather heats up, the last place we want to be is at work. Whether you’re a beach bum, hiker, or a globetrotter looking to rack up some summertime passport stamps, we all want to get out of the office in the summer. Some employers understand – but quite a few don’t, as a recent Office Pulse survey found that 52% of U.S. respondents said their office doesn’t offer summer perks.

What Perks Do Offices Offer?

Casual Dress Code
Flexible Hours
Summer Fridays
Work From Home
Unlimited Time Off

Without Flexibility, Workers Play Hooky

Of the perks people wish they had, more flexible hours were the most desired, with more than half of respondents saying they’d like some more leeway in their workday. Running with the theme of flexibility, 42% of respondents said they’d simply like the freedom to work from home more often during the summer. Even if they can’t take a full-blown vacation from work, business professionals are just looking for a little more freedom to spend less time at the office. On the other end of the spectrum, some workers want a whole lot of freedom: 39% were lobbying for unlimited time off.

Workers find ways to make the most of their summers with or without official office approval. 66% of American Millennial workers said they were likely to call in sick to get out of work for some summer fun, compared with 59% of Gen Xers and 51% of Boomers. While playing hooky might be fun for the office Ferris Bueller, it causes undue stress for those left behind. 53% of respondents said they found it annoying when colleagues misused their sick days.

Maybe we can cut Millennials some slack, though, since 38% of them said they weren’t planning on taking a summer vacation at all. The biggest inhibitors to Millennial vacays were the costs of taking a trip and a lack of leftover vacation time. Perhaps that’s why 23% said they’d leave their companies for better perks, with more time off and more flexibility to work from home being the biggest draws.

Out of Office, Still at Work

Even if you’re among the 62% of Americans that do plan to take a vacation, chances are you’re not leaving work at work. Those in upper management positions are less likely to unplug, and 47% of respondents overall said they will still be monitoring their emails on vacation.

An ultra-devoted 36% will still answer texts from their coworkers; but on the other side of the coin, a similar amount—37%—will become leisurely Luddites, allowing themselves the luxury of fully divesting from any and all responsibilities that might pop up in their inbox.

How Much Will You Work During Vacation?

Monitor Emails
Respond to Emails
No Work At All
Answer Texts
Check Voicemails
Take Calls

Tank Tops, Flip Flops and Thermostat Feuds

Those of us who are stuck at work might spend the summer dreaming about getting out of the workplace, but the change of seasons impacts office life quite a bit. The biggest change? Dress code. 36% of American workers said they dress casually in the summer, but only 27% dress casually the rest of the year. This was especially prevalent with Boomers, 43% of which treat the summer as a reason to put comfort first compared with just 25% during the rest of the year. Don’t be surprised if the clattering of dress shoes in the office hallway is replaced by the laid-back smack of flip flops.

And even though some of our colleagues might still fire off emails from their smartphones at the beach, 57% of respondents said the biggest qualm about summer at the office is lack of coworker availability—with drama over the thermostat coming in at a very close second, which 54% found annoying.

Whether taking a vacation or not, 38% of participants said their happiness increases during summer, so be sure to make the most of it. Do it the old fashioned way and use vacation time, circumvent the system and cash in on a sick day, or just relegate your fun to the weekends—but enjoy it while it lasts.

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