Why Employers Should Offer Summer Benefits

Summer benefits could give employers a competitive edge in today’s tight labor market, especially when recruiting younger Gen Z talent.

When temperatures rise and business slows, offering some hot summer benefits can help brighten up your employee benefits package. Typically offered to employees between Memorial Day and Labor Day, summer benefits can include anything from reduced hours and additional days off (i.e., “Summer Fridays”) to flexible dress codes and increased remote work flexibility.

While certainly not a new benefits trend, a recent Monster poll showed just how important summer benefits can be when it comes to attracting and retaining talent as well as improving the well-being and productivity of your workforce. Here are five reasons why employers should consider heating up employee benefits offerings during the summer months.

Improve Work-Life Balance

Summer vacation shouldn’t end at adulthood. As a child, summer was synonymous with family vacations, pool days, and playing outside. As an adult, that restless feeling doesn’t necessarily go away when the sun is shining and you’re stuck staring at spreadsheets. Allowing employees to make the most of their summer can help improve their mental health and work-life balance, among many other benefits.

Matt DiBara, CEO of DiBara Masonry, remembers what it was like being in the shoes of the employees and can relate to the feeling of wanting greater flexibility in the workplace during the summertime. “I can tell you that flexibility, not only in terms of office hours but also in dress code, is very important, especially in summer,” he says. “We started offering summer benefits a few years ago and noticed positive changes, such as improved productivity, fewer absences, and greater work-life balance. We started with small changes, such as allowing workers to wear clothes they are comfortable in and offering reduced hours to our employees. This left workers with more time to spend with their family and friends, pursue other interests, and feel more relaxed. In addition, we chose to offer a few additional days off. Summer is a great time to vacation, and we want our employees to have a good time. Though controversial, the decision paid off. We ended up with happier employees and other benefits, such as increased loyalty and better work-life balance.”

Boost Productivity

When it comes to summertime perks, “summer hours” are one of the most popular benefits offered as well as workers’ most beloved summer benefit, according to Monster poll respondents. Even with employees working fewer hours during the summer, though, employers shouldn’t expect to see any decreases in productivity. You may even find that your employees are more productive when they have less time to get their work done. According to Monster’s poll, 97% of workers who receive summer benefits said these benefits haven’t negatively impacted their productivity, with 66% saying their work productivity has actually increased.

“Offering fewer workdays might sound counterproductive, but it really is not,” DiBara says. “The thing is that happier employees are more productive. When they work fewer days or when they get more days off to do other things, they are happier and more energetic. A four-day work week alleviates the pressures of juggling work and personal life. It gives workers more time to spend on other things, leading to improved physical and mental health and paving the way for a more engaged and productive workforce.”

Offset Costs

Amid inflation and rising employer costs, any chance to save money should be taken into consideration. “A penny saved is a penny earned,” right? Giving employees Fridays off during the summertime, for example, can help businesses reduce utility expenses, like keeping the lights on, running the A/C unit, and more. The best part is that most summer benefits are of low or no cost to implement. “At the end of the day, it impacts your bottom line,” DiBara says. “You’re making more money, you’re saving more money, and you and your employees are less stressed.”

Let’s not forget that employees are not immune to the effects of inflation and the rising cost of living, either. By allowing workers to have more flexibility in where or when they work, you can help your staff lower commuting costs and reduce childcare expenses for working parents when school isn’t in session.

Retain Top Performers

Despite the many perks that come from offering summer benefits, fewer employees were offered them in 2023. According to Monster’s poll, 66% of workers did not receive summer benefits, with 43% saying their summer benefits were removed or reduced over the past year.

Taking away some of the most beloved summer benefits, like the four-day work week, may result in negative repercussions for employers. In fact, 27% of Monster’s poll respondents said they would consider leaving their employer if a four-day work week or “Summer Fridays” were eliminated.

In light of inflation and mass layoffs, Amy Laiker, head of New York at Tiger Recruitment says, “Businesses may have offered summer benefits during more economically profitable times, but with the tough economic climate that many are facing, decision-makers are cutting costs by reducing benefits. This shortsightedness demonstrates a lack of understanding from employers of the benefits that fairly small initiatives can have on the productivity of the team and in the power of a strong benefits package to attract and retain top talent.”

Attract Top Talent

Offering summer benefits like a shortened work week or the ability to work remotely could give employers a competitive edge in today’s tight labor market. Especially when recruiting younger Gen Z talent, offering greater flexibility in the workplace can be a great way to show candidates how much you care when it comes to their mental health and work-life balance. Just look at this year’s cohort of college graduates—about three-quarters of whom said they would be more likely to apply for a job if the position allowed them to work remotely from anywhere.

For employers that do offer summer benefits, be sure to showcase these benefits in your employer branding and talk about them during the interview process. “It is important to promote what you offer,” DiBara says. “That’s when recruitment marketing and employer branding come into play. One has to carefully write job descriptions, highlight all benefits, spread the word, and ensure employees are aware of what they’ll get if they choose to work for you.”

To help communicate summer benefits as part of your employer value proposition and branding, download Monster’s free Employer Branding Guide today.