A popular work perk offered between Memorial Day and Labor Day, “Summer Fridays” happen when offices choose to give employees half-day Fridays throughout the summer. A 2017 survey by Gartner revealed that over 40% of surveyed offices took part in this initiative, up 20% from 2015’s record.
But while Summer Friday’s morale-boosting powers encourage more and more workplaces to put them into action, there are still plenty of bosses who balk at the idea of cutting the work week short, even by a few hours. If you’re stuck with one of these militant managers and want to make the case for Summer Friday, arm yourself with these two key facts about Summer Friday’s productivity-boosting benefits.
While some managers worry that reduced work hours during the summer will decrease output, studies show that the opposite is true.
Generally, managers who don’t love the idea of Summer Friday cite a loss of productivity as their main reason. But while that concern makes sense hypothetically, - employees working a half day rather than a full day could very well get less done - research indicates that the flexibility and better sense of work-life balance provided by Summer Fridays can actually motivate employees to accomplish more in a shorter period of time.
According to a 2014 study by Captivate Networks, workplace productivity inherently drops about 20% during the summer months, with or without Summer Fridays. Forbes contributor Elena Bajic uses these stats to support her argument on behalf of Summer Fridays, claiming that very few employees abuse the freedom offered by Summer Fridays (refuting a common fear among bosses) and that the shortened work week boosts company morale, which can ultimately lead to higher output and greater returns. Bajic explains it like this: “By giving employees permission to leave early and enjoy a longer weekend, employers send a message that they value their workers’ mental health as well as their lives outside of work. Efficiency, after all, is not measured in hours, so giving employees more time to relax means time spent at the office is used more productively and with more focus. When people feel better and are happier with their employer, they are more motivated to get their work done – and done well.”
Perks like Summer Fridays help companies attract and retain top talent.
Because Summer Fridays indicate an employer’s commitment to ensuring her employees’ happiness, they’re a benefit that make participating companies especially appealing to competitive candidates. With the national unemployment rate dipping to 4%, companies have more reason than ever to make attractive offers to talented individuals. When these offers include flexibility benefits like Summer Fridays, they catch the attention of high achievers who want to feel valued and trusted by their employers. “Summer Fridays are effective at reengaging employees, because from an employee perspective, the company is putting their money where their mouth is, giving the gift of time. An engaged employee will work harder those other four and a half days, and they’re less likely to quit during the summer,” CEB HR practice leader Brian Kropp told Fast Company.
While Summer Fridays aren’t viable for all industries (unfortunately), office-based jobs will typically reap more advantages than handicaps by putting this seasonal policy into action. As long as deadlines are upheld, clients are notified, and clear start and end dates are established, Summer Fridays increase productivity and elevate happiness in the workplace. So go ahead, make the case to your boss and (hopefully) enjoy your season of half-day Fridays!