Are You Less Productive in the Summer? There's a Good Chance Your Boss Thinks So

Last Updated Jul 28, 2011 5:41 PM EDT

Burned out, stressed out, and overworked-especially now that warm weather is upon us. That pretty much describes the state of the U.S. workforce, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder. Odd thing is, employers-to judge by the survey-are perfectly aware of this. We don't know whether this sorry state of affairs has any impact on hiring plans, but at some point, it has to, says Brent Rasmussen, CEO of CareerBuilder North America.
While getting more out of a smaller workforce is a sign of organizational ability during unpredictable times, it's hard to see such yields in productivity holding forever. Headcount will be needed to meet increasing demands.
Here's what CareerBuilder found out by surveying about 2,600 hiring managers and HR folks and about 5,300 employees.
  • The summer slump is here. Twenty-six percent of employers say workers are less productive in the summer. The survey was conducted between May 19th and June 8th-before the heat really kicked in-so by now, that 26% is probably even higher. Bosses blamed the nicer weather, vacation fever, and the fact that kids are out of school. There wasn't any mention of the fact that it's just harder for even the most diligent workers to get anything done when so many other folks are vacationing or taking summer Fridays.
  • Burnout is epidemic. Seventy-seven percent of workers say they are sometimes or always burned out on their jobs. Given how lean staffs are, that doesn't seem like a problem that's going to get better on their own.
  • Stress is getting worse. Some 43% of employees say their stress levels have become worse over the past six months.
  • Productivity has increased since the recession. Thirty percent of employers say their workers are more productive than they were before the recession. They say that's partly because layoffs have forced the remaining workers to take on extra responsibilities, and partly because employees are scared of losing their jobs. A small number of employers-about 12%--say their workers are actually less productive than they were before the recession.
  • Even with productivity up, workers are being asked to do more. Forty-three percent of employees said their workloads have increased in the past six months, with only eight percent saying they have less work to do.
Are you less productive in the summer? Are your colleagues?

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Kimberly Weisul is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant. Follow her on twitter at www.twitter.com/weisul.
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    Kimberly Weisul is the co-founder of One Thing New, the free email newsletter for smart, busy women. She was previously Senior Editor at BusinessWeek, responsible for all coverage of entrepreneurship and for launching BusinessWeek SmallBiz, a bimonthly magazine. She is also a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant.