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Considerations for Offering Summer Hours

May 11, 2022

By Mary E. Corrado, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Does your organization offer summer hours, otherwise known as summer Fridays, to staff? Some organizations do, and it seems to be becoming even more popular. With summer quickly approaching, this is a good time to look at the pros and cons if you are considering this flexible working option.

Some studies show that productivity goes down by 20% during the summer months with projects taking 13% longer to complete as employees aren’t very focused. Workers also tend to be 45% more distracted during this time. This is probably especially true in states like Michigan where our summers are so short.

There are several variations of how companies offer summer hours. Some employers allow employees to work an extra hour Monday through Thursday in exchange for leaving early on Friday. Some might have employees work four 10-hour days in exchange for Fridays off. In other cases, employers simply give their employees a half-day on Fridays or adjust office hours so that their team works only Monday through Thursday or shorter Fridays.

A recent article on learn.g2.com outlines some of the reasons employers offer summer hours:

  1. Increased Employee Flexibility – As we all know employees are seeking flexibility now more than ever, and summer hours is just another way to increase that flexibility. The increased flexibility offers more options for long weekends and short get-aways.
  2. Improved Morale – At a time when employees would rather not be stuck inside, offering summer hours can increase employee morale and motivation.
  3. Increased Productivity – A study by Opinion Research Corporation found that 66% of employees who enjoy summer hour perks are more productive.
  4. Encourages a Healthy Work Life Balance – The increased flexibility allows employees more time to spend with their families.
  5. Reduction in Stress – All of the above benefits lead to a reduction in stress.  Having the extra time available on a Friday allows more downtime to return fresh on Monday.
  6. Shows Employees You Trust Them – Just as we show trust by offering remote work, we can show trust by allowing our employees to get their work done early in the week.  This empowers employees and shows them that they are trusted to get their job done.

In researching the effects of flexible summer hours, I came across several opinions from CEOs across various industries that have offered summer hours:

David Heath, CEO & Co-Founder, Bombas Socks
“Our policy is basically that if you need to leave early to get somewhere, you come in early to finish your work or make sure all of your responsibilities are handled before you leave. It shows your team that you trust them to handle their own responsibilities.”

Elena Bajic, CEO, Ivy Exec
“We noticed an increase [in] employee morale and all the good things that go with that, such as higher retention, candidate attraction, and productivity” after offering summer hours.”

Ian Wright, CEO, Small Business Prices
“There has been a noticeable drop in productivity, as it’s tough to get the same amount of work done in four days as compared to five. That said, it’s probably more like a 10% drop in productivity versus working 20% fewer hours, so a good trade-off [for us] so long as it’s time-limited.”

Ian also mentions that for some employees, the reduced hours can increase stress.  So, it’s important to consider that this might not work for all employees.  If considering offering the option of a compressed workweek in the summer, encourage employees to do what’s best for them.

Do you offer a summer hours program?  Please email me at mcorrado@aseonline.org. I’d love to hear any benefits or drawbacks you’ve experienced. I also encourage you to participate in our Poll of the Week which asked about summer hours.

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