Even though summer doesn’t technically start until June 21, it sure feels like it every May in Florida – mostly because of the scorching, inescapable heat and heavy, sauna-like humidity. Here at Fish, there’s another tradition that kicks off in May that also makes us feel like it’s already summer – Summer Fridays. One of our favorite job perks every year begins on Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day. During this time, the Fish office closes down at 3 p.m. every Friday.
It’s only fitting that the ideation of Summer Fridays began in advertising agencies in the 1960’s, and since then, it’s been proven in numerous studies that employees who benefit from summer hours were happier and more productive. By leaving work early on Friday – or not working at all – employees see that their employer values their mental health, work/life balance and understands that efficiency is not measured in hours.
For an employer standpoint, Summer Fridays are an inexpensive perk that win trust and love of employees and help them recover from work-related stress. In fact, productivity at the office drops sharply when employees work more than 50 hours each week, and overworked employees tend to sleep less, drink more and cost companies more for healthcare.
Thinking of implementing Summer Fridays or flexible work hours in your office? Here are some tips and different options:
- Ask around: Survey your employees about what they would think about flexible summer hours. Whether offering employees to work extra hours during the week for those hours off on Friday or every Friday off, it’s important to get the opinion of your employees.
- Set boundaries: Whether it’s leaving at 3 p.m. if your work is complete for the week, or making sure you’re available between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., setting parameters are important.
- Don’t focus on the outliers: Many bosses fear flexible hours or Summer Fridays, because employees could abuse that independence. It’s typically a minority who abuse the independence, and, in the end, those that are abusing the policy are probably not the right people to be part of the company in the first place.
- Start slowly: If you’re nervous about a big change, begin by closing an hour early and work up to every other Friday off or every Friday off, if that’s your goal. Testing a new policy for a month or two will allow you time to measure the team’s productivity and see if there’s any negative effect. This can help management relax and ensure the new hours are working for everyone in the company.