The Impact of Summer Fridays in the Workplace
It’s Friday afternoon on a hot summer day. The office A/C is struggling to keep up with the sweltering temperatures, and your employees’ minds are already more focused on the upcoming weekend than work. If your office is one of the more than 40 percent of companies that offer so-called “summer Fridays”, your employees can choose to cut the day short by a few hours, avoid rush hour and get their weekend started early.
The trend of offering employees the option of a summer Friday (usually between Memorial Day and Labor Day) is growing, and many employers are noticing a positive impact. Organizations that offer this perk may have an advantage when it comes to attracting and keeping talent. Research shows the growing importance that employees place on attaining a work-life balance — and summer Fridays may help employees achieve this goal.
Increased Flexibility Leads to Worker Satisfaction
In addition to offering employees the choice of leaving early on Fridays, some employers allow their team members to telecommute or completely take a Friday off, essentially giving them the perk of three-day weekends all summer long. Workers appreciate this flexibility as it allows them to spend more time at home or to pursue interests outside of work.
According to a 2017 study by PayChex, more than 80 percent of employees surveyed noted that their most significant work-related stressor was not having enough time to spend at home. The increased flexibility provided by instituting summer Fridays allows employees to have that extra time off, helping them achieve work-life balance. Satisfied workers have been known to stay longer with a company, which can ultimately help to reduce employee turnover, recruitment costs and boost retention.
As an employer, you may be concerned that letting employees leave work early on Fridays will negatively impact their productivity. Though it may seem counterintuitive, fewer hours worked actually correlates to greater productivity, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD’s studies of workplace productivity worldwide finds that countries with the longest work hours per week — such as Mexico, which clocks in with an average 41.2 hour work week — tend to have the lowest productivity, while countries with shorter work hours per week — such as Luxembourg, with an average work week of 29 hours — tend to have the greatest productivity. The U.S. comes in fifth in productivity, yet Americans put in more work hours per week than employees in the four most productive countries.
Reduced Overhead Costs
Along with giving employers a competitive edge on employee recruiting and retention, summer Fridays can also reduce a company’s overhead costs. Fewer employees on-site means lower energy usage, thanks to fewer computers, printers and lights being used. On those hot summer Fridays, turning the air conditioning down a few hours early can also save on utility costs.
From happier employees to increased productivity and lower energy bills, summer Fridays offer a number of benefits to employers and employees alike.
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