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From the archives: Summer Friday season is upon us

July 10, 2013

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE (originally posted June 1, 2012)

By George Brown

John P. Mahoney is a labor law attorney specializing in to the federal employment sector. Last week Mr. Mahoney, of the firm Tully Rinckey PLLC, reminded federal employees that playing hooky, or just ducking out early on a Friday before a holiday weekend, has consequences that won’t necessarily go unnoticed.  After all, Memorial Day weekend presented a perfect opportunity to take an early “Summer Friday.”  Mr. Mahoney notes that in the wake of a recent General Services Administration scandal, agency supervisors have been on the lookout for seemingly innocuous infractions such as skipping out prior to a long weekend and fudging time cards. “Employees who leave work early before a holiday weekend are easy targets,” Mahoney says.

While the federal government may not offer Summer Fridays, it is not unusual for private employers to initiate some form of the program from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

A Harris Interactive study commissioned by Ultimat vodka was developed to study perceptions of how a few extra hours away from work in the summer can contribute positively to people’s morale and productivity, and their overall work/life balance.

“Employers take note,” said Jennifer Long, brand director at Patron Spirits, the brand owner and marketer of Ultimat vodka. “Our survey clearly indicates that if you offer people the ability to take a Summer Friday, they’ll be happier and actually more productive during working hours.”

The survey conducted online in May 2012 among 1,201 employed adults aged 21+ revealed some interesting results:

  • Only 12% of employed adults indicated that their company offers a Summer Friday policy (e.g., closed on Friday or half-day on Fridays during summer months).
  • Of those who receive Summer Fridays as a benefit, 41% say they often forfeit them because their workload is so heavy.
  • Nearly nine of ten (88%) indicated that their company does not offer a Summer Friday perk.
  • Over three quarters (78%) who do not have Summer Fridays agree that they would take advantage of the perk if offered.
  • Nearly three of four (73%) who do not have Summer Fridays agree that if they did, it would help them find balance between work and personal life.
  • Among people who do have Summer Fridays, a robust 87% agreed that this employment benefit contributes to a healthy work/life balance.
  • Three-quarters (75%) who do not have Summer Fridays agree that having a Summer Friday policy would boost morale.
  • More than three-quarters (76%) of employed adults agree Summer Friday policies are an effective tool for increasing productivity.

What might one do if they were allowed a Summer Friday:

  • Nearly seven out of ten (69%) agree that Summer Fridays are a great time to unwind and enjoy cocktails with friends or co-workers.
  • Nearly four out of five (79%) who have Summer Fridays catch up on chores on Friday, in order to have more time to enjoy their weekend.

In a similar but not identical survey of 228 public and private firms by the Corporate Executive Board, 30% of responding firms said they would offer some form of summer hours (i.e., not just Summer Fridays) this year. Last year according to the same research, only 15% actually implemented a summer hours program.

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