When summer returns, almost everyone shares the same goal: enjoying it as much as possible while it lasts. From camping excursions to vacation weekends on the lake and holidays like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, the reasons to take time off of work add up fast. One way that some employers mitigate the tidal wave of time off requests that can characterize the summer months while giving employees an added benefit at the same time is by offering summer Fridays. Never heard of them?
“A summer Friday is when companies let their employees leave early on Fridays during the summer,” Brian Kropp, a Human Resources leader from the research firm Gartner told CBS. Kropp also mentioned that the practice is growing in popularity, which is leading small business owners across the country to consider offering the perk to their workers.
Think about it. How often do your employees take a Friday off throughout the summer? Your answer is probably something like “pretty often” or, “all the time now that I think about it.” While it might seem like a major investment in nothing more than less work for your employees, as Bloomberg puts it, summer Fridays are “a cheap and easy way to keep employees happy since no one is really working then anyway.”
The time off that your giving them amounts to only a few hours a month per employee, but because a half day every Friday is going to keep your employees coming in on Fridays rather than just taking the majority off like they usually would for the handful of summer weddings they’re attending or family weekend trips. What’s more is that offering a little extra time off during the summer greatly increases employee happiness. As Kropp continues, by giving “employees a little bit of time back and giving them that gift of time, they like their employer much more,” leading to increased job satisfaction and company loyalty.
Like with any flexible work arrangement, the efficacy of summer fridays is largely dependent on the policy that you create. The most common way to execute a summer Friday policy is by shutting down early on Fridays. L’Oreal, for example, closes up shop at 1:30 p.m. between Memorial and Labor Day. When offering summer Fridays, some employers require that employees work an extra hour on the other days of the week while others treat it purely as a summer bonus. Alternatively, another way to offer summer Fridays without shutting down your business is by giving each employee a floating Friday off each month.
Whichever route you decide to go, the rollout is key. Create the clearest policy you can and apply it consistently. Human Resources Inc. also suggests putting in an effort to keep communication up and check in with employees periodically to make sure that they’re still able to get their work done during the summer Friday season.