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Could your firm benefit from a summer shutdown?

One in six English employees would welcome the chance to have a fixed annual summer holiday while their place of employment closed down according to a new survey.

The summer shutdown, or what was once called the "factory fortnight", could be in vogue again as business owners struggle to manage during quiet periods and cover staff holiday leave at other times.

The poll, conducted by virtual assistant service providers Ava, found that 59% of English workers were in favour of the move; in sharp contrast, 68% of those in Northern Ireland were against it. In addition, women were more likely to back the idea than men - with 63% of women supporting the idea compared to 44% of men.

According to the researchers, many respondents felt that by shutting up shop during traditionally quiet periods, businesses would remain more productive and cost-efficient overall.

Some businesses are already adopting the practice. For instance, construction firm JCB closes its Rocester factory each summer for up to three weeks, in a bid to cut back on expenditure and give staff a designated period to take a paid holiday.

In addition, TED, the global talks organisation, closes for two weeks in August. And an article by Karina Robinson in the Financial Times in 2015 said that the best way to boost the nation's productivity would be to "cancel August".

Lucie Greenwood, Sales Manager at Ava, said: 

"Regardless of a company's size or profit margins, a decrease in performance and income can be a very stressful time. However, it's these periods in which you have the most time on your hands to take a step back and really look at how you work as a business. When you're flat out and the money is pouring in, it's very easy to assume everything is fine - when in fact there may be many aspects of your operations that can be improved."

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