My son completely unpacked his school backpack today and tossed out his notebooks and all the loose papers. That's a sure sign the school year is over and summer is here! But for employees who work hard all year round, summer usually isn't much of a break. This summer though, things may be different.
Here's the great news: More companies are planning to offer Summer Fridays!!!!
You're probably wondering exactly what Summer Friday is and whether your company is going to offer the perk. According to CEB, now Gartner , 43% of organizations will offer their employees Summer Fridays this year – a more than 20% increase in the number of organizations that extended similar benefits in 2015. Brian Kropp, HR Practice Leader at CEB, says Summer Fridays are defined as closing the office early (around lunchtime) every Friday or some Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Kropp thinks the reason its new survey shows more companies are offering this perk in 2017 is because work-life balance is one of the top factors employees consider when choosing to take or leave a job. "A significant percentage of employees take the time off anyway ( on Fridays). By telling them it’s okay, employees feel their employer cares and wants to give them flexibility to balance their work and life better. In lot of ways it’s a win win. It sends a positive message and for the employer, it doesn’t’ cost much."
For the remaining 56 percent of employers that aren't planning to offer Summer Fridays, Kropp encourages employees to request it. "Managers are on average are more flexible over the summer than other points of year."
We know that Americans are letting vacation days go unused and that stress levels are higher than ever. So, if more of us have access to Summer Fridays, maybe we will at least take a weekend getaway. While a long weekend is not as relaxing as a full week vacation, a short getaway can be a stress reliever, too, and help rebalance work and life.
Here is something else to consider if you're a manager. You may want to have a career conversation with your employee soon.
Kropp, who has a wealth of knowledge regarding workforce trends, said his organization has learned that when people go on summer vacation, they use that time to contemplate how their career is progressing.They may even compare it to a friend with whom they are traveling. Having a career progression conversation with an employee before he goes on vacation could encourage him or her to stay -- rather than leave -- your organization. "As a manager, you want to participate at moments when decision making is occurring," Kropp said. "Summer is when it often is occurring."
If you are a reluctant manager, consider this: Flexibility is more doable these days with video capability. As Kropp points out, video check-ins can give managers the comfort they need to allow more remote or work at home arrangements over the summer. Flexibility means you can require people to come into the office and collaborate, but let them work remotely on occasion. It means you can ask employees to work late during the year as needed, but give them Summer Fridays as desired, or even let them work one day from home.
Employers should be aware of how they can help their workers with work life balance this summer and what the payoff could be.
"We believe companies that create flex employee desire will have employees that will stay and be higher performing," Kropp said. That's a worthy goal for most businesses.Here's to Summer Fridays!