Employees leaving work early on Fridays is costing businesses approximately £50 million each year, a new survey has revealed.
Research conducted by Employersafe found that many employees now use a number of excuses to explain their absence, including taking a long lunch, having a doctor's appointment or an out-of-office meeting near their home.
Pam Rogerson, head of personnel at the firm, said that many workers are now treating Friday afternoon as an "unofficial holiday".
"We have estimated that this is costing British business just over 50 million pounds a year, which all goes to form part of the overall 13 billion pound cost of workplace absenteeism," she commented.
The firm has developed a computer programme aimed at identifying patterns of employee absence.
In related news, Kay Baldwin-Evans, director of research at Skillsoft, recently said that organisations can create a "contented workforce" by affording staff greater flexibility through promoting a healthier work-life balance.