A study published in 2014, by Stanford Professor John Pencavel, found that employee output decreases significantly past 50 hours in a given work week. Besides having little to no effect on productivity, longer working hours have been attributed to poorer health, lower employee job satisfaction, and higher burnout which, ultimately, leads to greater turnover.
Although Summer Fridays were reportedly introduced in the 1960s by ad agencies in NYC, this perk has been increasing in popularity over the last decade as more companies are focusing on work-life balance to boost employee satisfaction. Below are a few best practices to ensure a smooth and clear understanding of what this benefit could mean for an organization:
>> Establish a Time Frame
Both the number of weeks observed during this benefit and the amount of hours impacted on Friday should be determined by what makes the most sense from an organization’s business perspective. A common timeframe practiced is between Memorial Day and Labor Day in which employees have the Friday afternoon off (typically starting between 1pm to 2pm).
>> Set Expectations
Workers using this benefit should be available during the established office hours, should meet deadlines, complete projects with excellence and maintain communication with their managers and co-workers. Policy surrounding this benefit should emphasize what hours they will be working on said Fridays, and that employees will be held accountable for their assigned jobs by adhering to company expectations.
>> Inform Your Business Partners
As a component of good relationship management, companies should inform their business partners of this abbreviated schedule available to their staff. Proper and timely communication will help set expectations with all parties impacted and increases the trust between the organizations.
While this benefit may not be feasible for every organization or an individual employee, it is important to consider and be informed of these trends and practices within the sphere of culture and benefits. It is important to have a continuous conversation on how management can best support employees while allowing an employer to maintain relevance in an increasing dynamic and competitive labor market.