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Summer Friday Fever

The following post is courtesy of our board member John Hollon.

For many workers, it's a rite of summer -- cutting out early to get the weekend going a little sooner.

But now it's becoming more than that for a lot of companies.

According to a study released this month by CEB (now Gartner), some 42 percent of the companies that were surveyed will offer employees a "Summer Friday" arrangement where employees have the flexibility to leave early on Friday, or in some cases, take the entire day off.

This is a great perk if you can get it.

As The Washington Post notes:

“(This) benefit is ... a no-brainer for companies to offer. As flexible work arrangements have grown and the average office worker is just a text or phone call away, many people already duck out early on Friday afternoons, especially before long holiday weekends. Making it official gives the company a way to plug their generosity without spending much at all."

What makes this great is that it not only acknowledges something that a lot of employees are already doing, but that it also doesn't cost the organization much to do it. Anytime you can offer something that employees love with little financial impact, that's a huge win-win for everyone.

This also shows that companies are working to get more creative with their benefit offerings, especially for things that have a lot of value for employees (like getting some longer weekends during the summer) yet don't really detract from the bottom line.

And, it is a perk that benefits employees up and down the workplace totem pole, from down in the trenches up to the executive level.

Sounds too good to be true, no? Well, not exactly.

While generally touting the Summer Friday concept, The Washington Post also pointed out that this is a benefit that is designed largely - and only - for salaried workers:

“Of course, summer Fridays are hardly a benefit offered to all employees. They're yet another example of the bonus and benefit divide that exists as professional office workers get perks that hourly workers -- who are less likely to get variable pay and often receive less cushy benefits, such as paid leave -- don't. Letting cashiers or production line workers skip out at noon the Friday before Memorial Day just isn't in the cards for most companies."

I can see the point The Post is making, and I agree that there will be a lot of workers that won't benefit from Summer Fridays, but I still think they're a valuable benefit for employers to consider.

My experience is that ANYTHING that helps to move the needle on employee benefits is a good thing. Yes, there are a lot of people who won't be able to utilize a Summer Friday off, but it's rare when any benefit comes along that is something all employees can utilize universally across-the-board.

In the real world, new benefits get tried and tested, and if they seem to be working, companies and organizations start looking for ways to spread them to more and more employees.

This is especially true if they don't cost much to implement.

So consider me a fan of the Summer Fridays concept even if it doesn't reach everybody in every workplace everywhere. You gotta start somewhere with these things, and I seem to remember reading that we shouldn't "let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Those are a few good words to remember whether we're talking about life, or, the offering of a new benefit.

How about your workplace - are you giving your employees extra flexibility this summer?  

Share your insights!

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