By Daniel Hunter

'Laziness' over the summer months costs businesses £8 billion a year, according to a new study.

The the warm weather looming, the survey by business-to-business buying platform Approved Index found that 52% of workers admitted to working fewer hours in July and August as they slip off early to enjoy the sun.

The survey of more than 1,220 workers found that they work, on average, 1.8 hours less per week in the summer.

Analysing the results, Approved Index said that one worker, earning an average £14.12 wage, would cost £305 over the 12 week summer period. It means that the private sector, which has a workforce of more than 25 million people would lose out on £7.8bn in unworked hours.

But that figure could be even higher due to the startling discovery that higher paid workers are more likely to leave the office early.

Approved Index found that 75% of those who earn £50,000 or more admitting to working fewer hours. But less than 50% of those earning £30,000 or less said they leave early.

Adding to the UK's productivity woes, the research suggests that even the time spent in the office isn't as productive. Sixty-two per cent of those surveyed said that they don't feel as efficient during the summer months.

Six in 10 even admitted to planning their summer holidays during work.