Have you ever sat at your office on a Friday afternoon in July, looking out the window, feeling like a kid stuck in summer school? Let’s face it – you’ve taken some PTO towards the end of a warm August workweek to head out to the beach or meet up with family – and there’s no shame in enjoying a summer Friday here and there. But what if your company had those summer Fridays built into your schedule?
What’s a Summer Friday?
Summer Fridays at work are just what they sound like – employees get a partial or full-day off on Fridays in the height of summer, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Some companies choose to give free time every other Friday, and others shift their weekly schedules to accommodate a summer Friday each week. Some even give workers additional flexible paid holidays to incentivize time off over the summer. Workers don’t use PTO for these summer Fridays, as they’re built into the schedule.
According to data from Robert Half, over half of the workers support flexible summer schedules, and companies are more than willing to oblige. Pre-pandemic, only 32 percent of companies permitted employees to leave early on Fridays. However, in the post-COVID hybrid work world, as employees long for greater flexibility and a better work-life balance, more companies may hop on this trend and begin to offer this perk.
What are the benefits?
Summer Fridays policies aren’t just a way for employees to have more weekends at the beach – they’re also a tool to attract and retain outstanding talent.
Time management can improve when employees are incentivized by an extra day off. In a study from Buffer, almost everyone in their 85-person company (91 percent) that tested out a Summer Friday schedule reported getting as much done as they did during the rest of the year. Some even found that they accomplished more. By being able to manage their own schedules, these employees could push themselves to work for the weekend with an even greater reward at the end.
2. Getting new talent
Next, another great part of a Summer Fridays schedule is that you’ll attract brand-new talent. As many workers are looking for positions that accommodate working from home and greater flexibility, your company will be at an advantage by offering such a great perk. You’ll also attract the kind of future employees that value a realistic work/life balance, meaning that they’ll positively influence your company culture.
3. Eliminating absences
Summer Fridays aren’t just fun – they offer employees time to go to doctor’s appointments, be with their families or partners, and take care of household chores. These built-in days off let employees know that they’re not just a number, and they don’t have to take days off just to make sure their lives outside of work are in order. It can also benefit a company’s bottom line by reducing worker absenteeism.
4. Humanizing the work experience
Finally, implementing built-in days off can create an environment where employees feel valued. If they see firsthand that their company cares about more than just their output, the entire company culture can shift to an environment that emphasizes a healthy work/life balance. When employees feel like they’re being considered, they’re more likely to stay in their positions, and their physical and mental health will improve.
How do we make summer Fridays happen?
Giving employees an extra day off might seem like it comes with stressors like maintaining the ability to meet deadlines or issues with continued communication between teammates. However, there are several ways to implement these seasonal rituals that don’t compromise overall workflow and team synergy.
1. Use a compressed workweek
Four-day work schedules are all the rage and are used by companies large and small. Shifting to a compressed workweek over the summer means that you have every Friday off, but the extra hours are made up throughout the rest of your week. From Monday through Thursday, you’ll be working nine or ten hours a day to end up around your usual 40-hour mark.
These schedules are usually optional, and employees can participate in them of their own volition. They don’t work for everyone, as sometimes the days can be too long, and productivity may drop off. But the good thing about a compressed work schedule is that it’s usually available all year round, so your Summer Fridays can turn into Winter Fridays too.
2. Give Fridays off
Next, another option is to give employees Fridays off in some permutation without altering their work schedules in any other way. While many companies choose to give half-days or full days off every other Friday, it depends upon how productive your team is throughout the week. Other companies give employees full days off on Fridays without otherwise altering their schedules.
Hard work should be rewarded, and if deadlines are met and nothing is pressing, you can have Summer Fridays whenever suits your team best. If your company permits you to organize or choose your Summer Fridays on a team level, you can even assign them impromptu if you feel like you’ve been working more than usual throughout the week.
3. Offer flexible summer hours
Lastly, you can try out making your entire summer work schedule flexible instead of just your Fridays. Workers from the Buffer study said that Summer Fridays served as a reminder that working isn’t about filling mandatory hours but how you’re managing your time. In fact, you can look at one day off (like a Friday) as either eight or nine hours off, and imagine how your priorities would shift if you worked for 32 or 37 hours per week instead of 40 or 45 hours.
With that in mind, if you have control over your time in the office, you can consider switching to a more flexible schedule. Talk to your manager about how that might look and if your organization would be amenable to a work arrangement that prides results over conventional scheduling. Then, you can take your own Summer Fridays to reward yourself for productive weeks whenever they may happen.