Summer Fridays, or the idea of employers offering flexible summer hours, are making a comeback.
Summer Fridays are believed to have originated in 1960s New York City as a chance to compensate lower-paid workers. Summer Fridays also allowed ample time for editors at publishing houses to drive to their summer homes on the Hamptons (seriously) a few hours ahead of rush-hour traffic.
After a decline in flexible hours, the idea of Summer Fridays for the American workforce appears to be gaining steam again.
In 2018, we could see even more growth of Summer Fridays thanks to all the benefits they provide.
Benefits of Summer Fridays
Unless you work in an industry led by deadlines, such as working as a stock broker or a newspaper editor, many jobs have more flexible hours today than decades prior.
Thanks to modern technology, we can take our office home with us, checking and answering e-mail and even getting work done on nights and weekends.
But in the summer days, when the weather is nice in the Northern Hemisphere and folks enjoy evenings on the patio or days at the park, it can be difficult to concentrate on work while your mind wanders.
A study from the Captivate Network found that workers are 20 percent less productive and 45 percent more distracted during the summer months. It also found that projects take on average 13 percent longer to complete as employees have their mind on other things.
Another study from the Opinion Research Corporation showed that 66 percent of employees actually felt more productive with summer hours. Employees are more motivated to complete projects in time to be able to enjoy some time in the sun.
While Summer Fridays seemed to disappear around the turn of the 21st century, it’s starting to make a return. In a 2015 survey by business advisory company CEB, now known as Gartner, about 42 percent of 220 companies interviewed let employees take off early on Fridays. The number has since doubled since that study took place.
Here are the benefits available to companies when they give employees summer hours:
Boosts Relations With Employees
After a long winter stuck indoors, and especially for employees with young children, summer is a chance to enjoy warmer weather and extra time with family and friends. By providing summer hours, employers can be attentive to their employees’ desire to spend some time out of work. This move has been proven to ultimately bring more productivity.
In addition to summer hours, employers can encourage their employees to vacation. Employees feel more rested and rejuvenated after a vacation, and they’re 50 percent more productive at work. And when companies encourage vacations, it motivates team members to finish work beforehand so they can enjoy the time they’re away. And even if it’s not paid time off, letting employees leave early on a Friday to have a nearly three-day weekend can help rejuvenate employees as well.
Schedule Team Events out of the Office
Host a cookout. Take your employees to the horse track. Host a laser tag day at the arcade. Team events like this, where employees can enjoy a day out the office, can help boost productivity and team bonding, which will lead to better relationships in the office.
Use What You’ve Got
If you work at a company that doesn’t have resources to host a company-wide event in a private setting, find ways to improvise. Host a potluck or picnic. Schedule a corporate massage company to provide massages in the office. Have employees decorate a part of the office. By doing this, you’re making your employees feel valued, and it breaks the monotony of daily office life.
Communicate with Employees
The rank and file employees know what they need to be productive. If your company communicates with its employees and finds out when the best times are for giving employees a break, it will lead to a better vibe around the office and more productivity.
Implementing Flexible Hours
During the summer, managers can choose to be flexible with employees’ hours, perhaps letting employees leave early on Fridays or take other time off during the week.
Here are some ways that managers can implement summer hours at their jobs.
At first, allow everyone to leave a little early, before expanding the flexible hours to potentially leaving after a half day or taking off an entire day.
Set Clear Expectations
While studies show that summer hours do raise productivity, managers should make clear that the flexible hours aren’t part of a charity. If this helps employees feel more rested and rejuvenated, they’ll expect standard productivity in return.
If employees are going to have time off, ensure that their work is completed in advance. Otherwise, they should stay in the office to complete it, or work from home if they can.
Determine Type of Summer Hours
There are different ways a manager can implement summer hours. Some employers ask employees to work extra hours during the week to leave early on Fridays. You could also offer half-day Fridays, every-other Friday off, every Friday off, or offer employees flexible hours that they can decide how to use.
Shape it Around Your Community
If you’re located in the Rockies or in the mountains, perhaps allow your employees to leave early one day so the whole team can hit the slopes. If you’re in the Midwest and enjoy fishing, perhaps let employees leave early to go fish at a lake, or give the option to come in late if they choose to fish in the morning. Either way, tailor the flexible hours to your employees’ needs and create a way for them to enjoy time outside of the office.
Become a Successful Manager in Your Business
Giving employees a chance to rest and feel rejuvenated will help bring you the results you need to continue succeeding in your business. If you want to learn more about successful management tactics, enroll today in Alvernia University’s online MBA program. Our flexible, affordable program can be completed in as little as one year, and you’ll take away the skills needed to become a leader in your field. In addition, our fully online format allows you to pursue your degree while balancing your already busy life.