Finance chiefs aghast at summer leave business impacts

Almost 90% of company cash gurus concerned about effects of a ‘summer slowdown’

An overwhelming majority of corporate cash controllers are wringing their hands over the effects of the summer break, according to a survey from Robert Half.

In a poll of senior finance executives across the UK, the specialist recruitment firm found that a whopping 87% are worried about the potential business impacts from the ‘summer slowdown’, with 48% citing annual leave as particularly problematic.

In the view of that segment, multiple senior leaders taking holidays at the same time means there is “less managerial direction” for their teams – while the temporary dip in staff numbers across their firms translates into lost productivity.

Added to that, one quarter is concerned about how summer takes the pace out of commercial activity, such as deals, and 14% fear it is generally the season of lower workforce motivation.

However, Robert Half UK MD Phil Sheridan cautioned against an alarmist response to the period, pointing out that some of those areas of concern can actually yield important benefits.

“Although it can feel that business never stops,” he said, “the summer months bring a great opportunity for UK workers to take a break, unwind and recharge their batteries.

“In the long run, businesses and employees benefit greatly from making the most of the summer slowdown, as individuals who take regular breaks are known to be more motivated, have higher morale and are more productive on their return to work.”

While it is clear that many UK firms are impacted by the seasonal slowdown, Sheridan added, some careful forward planning can offset any negative effects from employees’ absences.

“Many businesses looking to maintain productivity levels over the summer months are turning to temporary and interim professionals to help manage workloads and keep critical projects on track,” he explained.

There are, the firm suggested, five steps that companies can take to ensure that the slack in the middle of the year does not have any adverse effects on business:

  1. Set up a team planning day This enables tasks to be divided between the team when employees are on holiday. Every employee will know their responsibilities and schedule those tasks in advance.
  2. Be prepared It is important that everyone understands expectations and deadlines. Clear agreements on all tasks are required to better manage any additional workloads that staff may face when taking over from their colleagues.
  3. Provide support By taking on temporary and interim workers during the summer months, organisations can meet deadlines for the most urgent projects and daily tasks – and ensure that permanent employees are not overloaded.
  4. Allow some flexibility Employees who are given additional flexibility in the period just before their holiday will be more inclined to make additional efforts to complete their tasks on time.
  5. Encourage employees to take all their entitled holidays Every team member has the right to a minimum number of holidays, so it is important to encourage employees to take them. Staff who take all of their holidays are generally more satisfied with their jobs – and are more productive throughout the year.
Scroll to top