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Bank holiday drought sees productivity nosedive

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A survey by YouGov on behalf of Croner has revealed that 50 per cent of workers blame the bank holiday drought between September and Christmas for feeling unproductive at work.

But although a significant 39 per cent voted for an extra bank holiday to recharge their batteries, the majority would rather take control over their own working patterns, with 34 per cent preferring flexible working all year round, and a further 17 per cent voting for an additional day of annual leave to take whenever they choose.

In fact, 42 per cent said that a bank holiday has no positive impact on their job performance, with 7 per cent actually saying it reduces their productivity on returning to work.

Richard Smith, employment services director at Croner says: “As a nation we moan about being overworked and not having as many bank holidays as our European neighbours.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the respondents to our survey said that a long period of time with no public holiday has a negative impact on their productivity.

“But when probed further, it became apparent that the frequency of bank holidays isn’t the real issue.

“Feeling unproductive is more likely to be due to becoming weary of long-term nine to five shifts rather than a lack of odd days off. While a single day’s public holiday is nice to have, it isn’t long enough to counteract the cumulative effect of hard work.

This is why many employers offer statutory bank holidays in addition to normal annual leave, which allows for longer periods of rest and relaxation.

“Our research shows that, to improve productivity the most, the majority of employees prefer the option to work flexibly all year round. This sends a clear message to employers that, by introducing a flexible working policy for all staff, they could experience real commercial gains.”

Flexible working covers any working time arrangement other than what is thought of as a standard working week, such as part-time and term-time working, job sharing, homeworking, flexitime, annualised hours and compressed hours.

While government legislation currently only exists to allow those with young or dependent children to work flexibly, companies may, at their discretion, go beyond the minimum legal requirement and offer it to the entire workforce.

Richard Smith added: “I’m sure we’d all jump at the chance for an extra bank holiday, but from a business perspective employers would see more economic benefits from looking at ways they can offer flexible working arrangements beyond the statutory minimum all year round.”

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Annie Hayes

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