Workplaces appease staff by letting them leave at lunchtime on Friday

Workplaces are appeasing staff by letting them clock off at lunchtime on Friday amid ‘rising pressure for a four-day week’ as L’Oreal, Nike and Asos are the latest to introduce ‘summer hours’

  •  Major firms are letting staff clock off early on Fridays for up to five months a year
  •  Campaigners say firms are bowing to pressure for a four-day working week 

Britain’s top companies are increasingly letting their workers clock off early on Fridays during the summer months as they face mounting pressure to give staff a four-day working week.  

Major UK employers, including Kellogg’s, Asos, and PwC, all offer ‘summer working hours’ to their staff, meaning workers are allowed to leave early on Fridays for up to five months of the year. 

The companies say their ‘Summer Fridays’ schemes help them win over the best workers while boosting staff wellbeing. 

Campaigners, however, claim summer working hours schemes are simply a way for companies to appease their workers, in the face of rising pressure for a four-day working week. 

Critics also claim the summer working hours’ policies force staff to overwork from Monday to Thursday, with many firms requiring employees to do the same amount of work over a four and a half day week. 

Accounting firm PwC lets its 6,000 workers clock off at lunchtime on Fridays in the summer

Kellogg’s lets its 400 staff in Manchester’s MediaCity (pictured) leave the office at 12pm

Cornflakes maker Kellogg’s lets staff in its Manchester head office leave at 12pm on Fridays, from the months of May to September, so long as they’ve completed a full week’s work hours by midday at the end of the week. 

‘For Kellogg’s, there’s reasons we’ve brought summer hours back year after year for the last 20 years – it helps us retain and attract the best people,’ a Kellogg’s spokesperson told MailOnline. 

Accounting firm PwC also lets its 6,000 UK employees finish at lunchtime on Fridays in the months of June, July and August. 

PwC’s UK chairman Kevin Ellis said the accounting firm ‘knew summer working hours would be popular’ among staff, as the company’s surveys showed 90% of its own workers were in favour of the shorter Friday hours. 

The accounting firm chief, however, noted that ‘not everyone could take every Friday,’ due to heavy workloads, but that those who had to work ‘benefited from less email traffic’ when they did.  

Staff at clothes seller Asos and shampoo maker L’Oreal are allowed to clock off at 3pm on Fridays during the summer months. Shoe seller Nike even gives it’s staff a whole week off in August and lets them log off at midday every Friday from May until September. 

Asos workers at its London headquarters (pictured) are able to finish work at 3pm on Fridays 

Campaigners, however, said the increased uptake of Summer Fridays schemes are a sign that firms are now bowing to pressure to shift away from the traditional 9-5 model and begin offering a four day working week.   

Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, said: ‘Pressure for a four-day week with no loss of pay has been building and companies that aren’t quite ready to go the full hurdle are introducing nine-day fortnights and summer working hours.’

‘The traditional 9-5, 5 day working week is outdated and no longer fit for purpose. We are long overdue an update and reduced summer working hours gives companies the opportunity to experiment with a shorter working week,’ he told MailOnline. 

Lord Sugar previously hit out at PwC’s summer working hours policy, on Twitter, by calling the Big Four firm’s staff ‘lazy gits’. 

‘This is a bloody joke,’ the businessman said in response to the Big Four accounting firm’s scheme. ‘The lazy gits make me sick. Call me old-fashioned but all this work from home BS is a total joke.’

‘There is no way people work as hard or productive as when they had to turn up at a work location,’ he added. ‘The pandemic has had long lasting negative effect.’ 

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