What has become a growing trend in offices all across the country in recent years is allowing its employees to leave a number of hours early on Fridays during the summer months. This may seem counterintuitive for managers and business owners who wish to get as much work done within a 5-day work week, however, this tactic has been used before, and has been linked to increased productivity, and higher levels of employee engagement.
Friday afternoons within the workplace are often full of commotion due to the anxiousness of the start of the weekend, and it can be fairly difficult keeping your team focused when the end of the work week is a mere few hours away. Rather than developing programs or strategies to help employees remain focused on the task at hand, many companies have simply begun allowing them to leave early (some 42% across the United States), which directly translates to a deeper appreciation for the company that they work for.
Flexibility is an essential component of an attractive workplace, and one that displays trust in allowing its employees to leave hours early for the weekend often sees reciprocation from them. What can actually hinder your employees’ production is an extremely strict work schedule. Forcing team members to come in at 9:00 a.m. and leave no sooner or later than 5:00 p.m. can create a sense of mistrust, and even be distracting when they have no choice but to count how many hours they’ve logged throughout the week. Instead, allow them to do their work during times that benefit them the most. That is not to say that they can come in and leave whenever they want, but rather encourage them to ask you for modified hours should the situation call for them.
If you feel that this innovative strategy could backfire, propose that your employees make up these summer hours slowly throughout the week beforehand. Whether they are leaving one, two, or three hours early that Friday, have them work those additional hours during the days leading up to it, and allow them to choose just how late they’d like to stay each day. This is yet another great strategy for showing how much you trust your employees, which often develops mutually.
As a leader, allowing your employees to head home earlier than usual on Fridays during summer months can reflect incredibly well on your managerial position, as well as promote employee retention through their appreciation of your company. Rather than implementing “summer Fridays” simply because it is a growing trend, assess whether or not it will fit your business model. It may not be for everyone, but it can certainly be a perk in your office that will keep employees motivated to come back in the following Monday.