Survey: Flex Time, Vacation Privileges on the Chopping Block

Hold off on those beach plans. According to the latest By the Numbers survey, a monthly poll featured in "The Zweig HR Letter," a newsletter devoted to human resources management ideas and best practices used in architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms, this summer is not stacking up to be the most leisurely one on record for America's workers as more companies look to doing away with flex and vacation time as a way to stay afloat.

According to the survey, only 12 percent of companies plan to offer summer hours this year--a benefit typically defined as allowing employees to put in extra hours Monday through Thursday and take either a half day off every Friday or a full day off every other Friday during the summer months. Additionally, just 7 percent say they will allow employees to take an unlimited amount of unearned vacation hours "on credit" to the firm.

"Offering summer hours this year would send the wrong message to current employees, laid-off employees, and clients," says Michelle Maynard, a consultant and HR management specialist with ZweigWhite. "Whether or not it's the case, a summer hours policy paints the image of relaxation--not the hustle and drive that firms need from their employees right now to position them for success when the economy rebounds. Also, client responsiveness and service are more important than ever right now. As more firms fight for fewer projects, it's imperative that they make themselves available to clients as much as possible."

The Wayland, Mass.-based ZweigWhite offers business management services specifically for architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms. The company's Human Resources Management Services consultants assist firms with training, compensation strategies, recruiting, outplacement services, and more. For information on the monthly "Zweig HR Letter," visit www.zweighrletter.com.

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