The low-down on Summer Fridays

Is this a perk you offer your employees?

The whole concept of Summer Fridays started in the 1960s when Manhattan ad agencies realized that productivity on Fridays had reached near zero when the sun was shining and the Hamptons were calling. Since then, the concept of Summer Fridays has spread, though it is still most common in the Northeast and in creative industries such as fashion, media, and PR. But regardless of your industry and location, offering Summer Fridays to your employees can be an inexpensive perk that helps make your company an employer of choice.

So what are Summer Fridays?

There are a few different ways that companies structure Summer Fridays, but essentially they are additional time off during the summer months(Memorial Day – Labor Day), in addition to regular sick, vacation, and personal time. For hourly employees, many companies expect the employee to make up the hours they will be missing on Friday, by working extra hours during the week. For salaried employees, the thought is that they will put in the time necessary to get their work done each week. The most common schedules for Summer Fridays include:

  • Leaving Friday at noon.
  • Leaving Friday afternoon around 2-3pm.
  • Having every other Friday off.
  • Working remotely for part of, or the whole day on Friday.

Now you may say, but what if our clients need to reach us during those hours employees are off? The easy answer is that thanks to the advances in technology, most employees can be reached via smart phone pretty much anywhere in the world in case of emergency. Other companies rotate employees who are off that week, so that their department is always covered. And some just accept that their normal hours of operation simply change during the summer. Depending on the industry, chances are that many of your clients have their own Summer Fridays too.

Now this all sounds great, but what’s the benefit?

Employees who work for a company offering Summer Fridays benefit from increased productivity throughout the week, increased happiness, and a healthier work-life balance. One of the most desirable perks that employees are looking for in potential employers is more autonomy in their role, and the freedom in making their own schedules. Offering Summer Fridays is a great recruiting device for companies and actually increases their retention rates among employees.

Having a different summer schedule does require trust on the part of the manager. They have to be able to trust that their employees will still get their work done on time and to the same standards as the rest of the year. But as the workplace continues to evolve, it is important to realize that equating hours to productivity isn’t the norm anymore. We, as workers, aren’t an assembly line. We put in the hours when needed to get our work done, taking breaks here and there to boost our morale, get rejuvenated, and inspired, before getting back to work.

Will your company be offering Summer Fridays this year?