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Are Summer Hours Right For Your Company?

Posted by Patrick Ball on 1 Aug 2014

Theres something about summer that makes everyone happier. The sunny days, warm nights, backyard BBQs, and weekend trips to the beach give us all a little boost. But what does summer-time, fun-time mean for businesses?

father and son snorkeling Many companies have found that adopting summer hours, or Summer Fridays, reduces stress from the heavy winter workload and creates a positive vibe that can benefit the bottom line. Others feel that losing a workday can overburden staff by making them cram everything into a four-day week. 

As the summer season starts, here are some of the pros and cons to consider when thinking about Summer Fridays.

Pro: Makes Employees Happy
The biggest benefit of Summer Fridays is a happy staff. Since summer is short, giving employees a day, or even a few hours, off can be an easy way for companies to show that they care about their people. Its a gesture of mutual respect, says Susan Steinbrecher, author of Heart-Centered Leadership. It shows your employees that they are genuinely valued.

Con: Doesnt Work for All Businesses
Some businesses are better suited than others when it comes to Summer Fridays. Client-relations and service-oriented businesses in particular can struggle with the reduced hours spent in-office. If you find that customers are complaining, you need a Plan B to get customer relations back on track, says comments Leigh Steere, co-founder of Managing People Better.

Pro: Increases Productivity
Despite common perceptions, Allison Hernandez, managing partner at lotus823, finds that her companys Summer Fridays actually increase productivity. As one employee put it: the opportunity to leave earlier (and beat the traffic) is a great incentive for keeping me focused and helping me meet all of my deadlines so that I can leave on time and enjoy a beautiful summer afternoon, says Hernandez.

Con: Hard On Start-Ups
Companies just starting out need every minute of every day to ensure their success. We are a growing startup facing major competitors, says David Daneshgar, co-founder of BloomNation.com. For them, June to August is more of a summer hustle.

Pro: Creates Positive Culture and Work-Life Balance
A summer schedule can also create a positive company culture. Providing flexibility shows you care about your employees' wellbeing and outside interests, says Steere. This in turn can build employees' good feelings about the company.

Learn How Flex Work Can Be Bad for Work-Life Balance

Con: Can Lead to Lax Attitudes
If youre not careful, bending the rules for summer schedules can end up hurting office professionalism. Summertime can blend too much into office time if employees overdo it on casual dress or are often distracted. Balancing the summer vibe with a professional culture is a challenge for many businesses during the summer months.

Should You Try Summer Fridays?

When considering whether to try Summer Fridays, think about how the flexible schedule might impact your business relative to the benefits you might gain in employee morale. Maybe even experiment with a few smaller adjustments, like longer lunch hours or one to two long summer weekends, before implementing a full policy. Ask your employees for feedback and figure out a plan that works best for all of you.

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