Summer Fridays: Improve morale with a compressed work schedule

Summer Fridays: Improve morale with a compressed work schedule

If your office is like many workplaces, in the summer, productivity takes a 20 percent dive. That number grows as the week comes to a close and everyone’s minds wander to their weekend plans. Some companies have found a way to offer incentives that reduce distractions for little or no extra cost. Something as simple as a summer Fridays (a compressed work schedule) can positively charge employees.

A summer hours work schedule is simple: Employees work a little extra Monday through Thursday, and then get out early on Fridays. The average number of hours worked per week doesn’t decrease, but employees get a head start on their weekend plans. To help staff plan their days efficiently, daily planners and scheduling apps can be used to increase employee productivity.

More employers are extending the weekend

Day-dreaming about sunny weather and the summer escape isn’t limited to non-managerial staff; it happens to everyone at some point, from executives to entry-level employees. While implementing a summer schedule that reduces the number of tasks done on Fridays is relatively new, it’s a policy that’s building steam fast. A study conducted in 2015 by the CEB Global Talent Monitor found that in only two years, there was a 20 percent increase in the number of companies offering “summer Fridays.” Summer Fridays typically begin the weekend before Memorial day and end the weekend before Labor Day. During the summer, employees can leave as early as 1PM, granted they make up the missed time throughout the week, whether through coming in early or staying late the rest of the week. 

Improve productivity with this low-cost solution

Incentives like extra paid vacation time and pay raises can be costly and aren’t something every company is in the position to offer. Extending the weekend without decreasing how many hours in a week your staff works is a win-win situation for all parties. In fact, it can help companies retain and recruit top employees. One of the top reasons for stress-related injuries and worker burnout is a lack of work-life balance. By making these changes, Fridays can even be more productive, as all meetings and daily tasks in an employee’s appointment books are completed by noon.

Make a summer hours policy work

If you are ready to start a corporate summer hours policy, consider that no specific plan is right for every office. Businesses that interact directly with customers may need staff in the office on Friday afternoons. Some employees may not be able to work early or later Monday through Thursday. Industries with unions may require extra negotiating to smooth out the details. Here are a few tips to help draw up the best policy for your office:

  • Explain to executives and managers that they need to set the example by walking out the door first, to reduce employee insecurities about leaving early.
  • Be flexible when possible. If an employee has a weekly softball game at 5 pm on Wednesdays, let them come in early, rather than stay late.
  • Consider alternative plans that may be better for your office. For businesses that need a few employees on weekday afternoons to answer calls or greet customers, offer half-day Fridays every other week.
  • Use weekly planners to keep track of what times each employee is in the office during the summer schedule.

Another way to help the transition is to offer employees tools to succeed. A good start is to give everyone physical desk calendars to keep close track of upcoming tasks.

Keep staff happy with summer hours at work. With 42 percent of employers surveyed considering offering this perk last year, your employees won’t be alone as they file out of the office to spend the rest of the day with friends, family or just enjoying time to themselves. Making these changes will also show how much you care about their work-life balance.