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The Summer Slump Is Real, UK Less Productive During Summer Months

Kay Cooper, Managing Director, RPO, EMEA, at Korn Ferry.

The Summer Slump is Real – Korn Ferry Survey Finds Almost Half of Employees Believe They are Less Productive at Work during the Summer Months

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today (5 Jul) released its figures on the UK’s productivity in Q1 of 2019, indicating that our labour productivity fell 0.2% compared to the same period last year.

With the sun showing its face more, kids finishing school, and long-planned vacations coming around, summer is full of distractions, and according to a new Korn Ferry survey, this significantly impacts people’s performance at work.


Korn Ferry has today released new research into workers’ productivity during Summer indicating that there’s no reason why Q2 should be any better: almost half (46%) of workers admit that their personal productivity slumps during the Summer months. A quarter admit to skipping work so that they can enjoy the sun, while a clear majority (78 percent) believe that their colleagues are less productive during this period.

Moreover, for a strong minority, the hot weather presents the perfect excuse to skip the office, with a quarter (25 percent) admitting that they have skipped work so that they could enjoy summer activities.

The research also found that the vast majority (71 percent) of organisations do not offer any form of amended work hours in the summer or team-building summer events outside the office (61 percent).

“In a competitive job market, it’s vital for organisations to understand how their employees actually work and what their needs are, and this extends to seasonal variations in productivity. Summer holds cultural importance as a moment of relaxation and holidays, and clearly for many people this phenomenon impacts workplace performance – yet not many organisations currently attempt to flex around the ‘summer slump.’” said Kay Cooper, Managing Director, RPO, EMEA, at Korn Ferry.

In another recent survey, Korn Ferry found that workers struggle to disconnect while on vacation, with nearly half (45 percent) of those surveyed saying they check in with the office multiple times a day while on holiday. A further 65 percent admit they’ve had to cut a vacation short due to work pressures.

Kay Cooper commented further: “The fact that so many struggle to fully ‘turn on’ when they’re at work during the summer months and to ‘turn off’ while they are on holiday indicates that many have difficulties finding the balance between work and leisure. Organisations need to help their employees negotiate the many demands of the office and to preserve their relaxation time outside of it. By better empathizing with employees, organisations can find ways to adapt to how they work and therefore create a more compelling offer to talent.”

About the survey

There were 1,060 responses to the online executive survey, which took place in May 2019. Please note that due to rounding responses may not equal 100 percent.

Survey Responses

Does your company offer amended work hours in the summer (eg. Working half-days on Fridays)?

Yes                                                                                                                             29 percent

No                                                                                                                               71 percent

Does your office offer team-building summer events outside the office

Yes                                                                                                                             39 percent

No                                                                                                                              61 percent

To what extent would you agree that your personal productivity at work slumps in the summer?

To a great extent                                                                                                         5 percent

To some extent                                                                                                           42 percent

To no extent – I’m as productive in the summer as I am in the winter                      54 percent

To what extent would you agree that productivity in your work colleagues slumps during the summer?

To a great extent                                                                                                          5 percent

To some extent                                                                                                           73 percent

To no extent                                                                                                             22 percent 

Have you ever played hooky from work because the summer weather was too good to pass up?

Yes                                                                                                                             25 percent

No                                                                                                                              75 percent

Is it harder to get projects done during the summer months?              

Yes                                                                                                                              41 percent

No                                                                                                                               59 percent

Do you feel you are more productive when colleagues/bosses are on summer vacation?

Yes                                                                                                                              46 percent

No                                                                                                                               59 percent

Does your company have dress policies geared toward the summer months (e.g. no shorts or flip flop sandals)?

Yes                                                                                                                              37 percent

No                                                                                                                              63 percent

Do people in your company adhere to summer dress policies?

Yes                                                                                                                              60 percent

No                                                                                                                              40 percent

In general, is the environment in your company more laid back in the summer?

Yes                                                                                                                              33 percent

No                                                                                                                              72 percent

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