05 Jun Rise of Summer Fridays: Promoting Work-Life Balance
It’s summertime here at AR HQ and we’ll be spending some time on our blog talking about all the hot button issues of working through the slower, warmer, nicer, summer months. If you search through most social media sites on a Friday afternoon (which many of us do, let’s be honest) you will find a wealth of pictures documenting employees enjoying their Summer Fridays, or time away from the office. This trend has gained popularity throughout the country over the last few years. Started in the 1960s for Advertising Executives in New York City, companies from coast to coast are offering their employees an opportunity to leave the office early on Fridays.
Statistics for Fortune 1000 companies show that 42% offered some variation of Summer Fridays in 2017, marking a dramatic increase from 21% in 2015. Why are companies now deciding that employees benefit from less time at work? At the start of summer 2017, Bloomberg reported that the rise in Summer Fridays corresponds to a tighter hiring market for white-collar companies. In order to compete for smaller numbers entering the workforce, companies are attracting applicants by increasing paid and family leave, and developing a more flexible workplace.
Many HR executives contend that Summer Fridays is a smart mechanism for promoting a healthier work-life balance for their employees, without taking a dramatic hit on their bottom line. Traditionally Friday afternoons are the least productive part of the week. Therefore, by offering time off on Fridays (sometimes corresponding to slightly longer hours during the rest of the week) companies aim to keep their employees happy while also keeping their cost down.
Companies that do offer Summer Fridays are finding that employees experience higher levels of loyalty and job commitment, and are actually increasing their overall productivity. Cited in the Bloomberg article, HR practice leader at CEB Brian Kropp argued that “this is a way that companies can send a message that work-life balance is important in a low-cost way.”
During a time of the year when many employees leave the office early anyway in order to make the most of the longer days and warmer weather, companies are making a strategic ploy to ensure that their employees return to the office Monday morning rested and ready to work. Though an interesting business practice, it is worth noting that this type of incentive is generally reserved for white-collar jobs, there are many industries and levels of work, where taking strategic time off is not possible or cost effective. But, if you’re building a positive work culture, Summer Fridays may be something to consider! Does your office participate in Summer Fridays or a similar scheme? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!