Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Summer Hours

Ahhhh…it’s almost summer and time for longer weekends. At Creative Vision, we always put in extra hours but in summer, we do try to take half the day on Fridays to extend the weekend a bit earlier and it works for us and those who work for us.

Summer hours have always been a standard at big NYC public relations or ad agencies, as well as other larger businesses and it was a time of year that employees looked forward to. After all of the late hours and even working weekends throughout the year, this was reward time. It meant you’d get out at 1pm on Fridays and have time to catch the early jitney to the Hamptons or try to beat the traffic to your summer house on the Jersey shore.

We’re wondering whether that applies to small businesses. Does your business use “summer hours” to motivate or reward employees? We believe shortened or altered workweeks during the summer months can be a great way to make your staff happier and more productive with no cost to your business.

That’s right…more productive! Summer hours don’t necessarily involve a shorter workweek. Many companies add time on to the rest of the days of the week so that employees can leave early on Fridays, or have every other Friday off. So as an employer, you can think of it more as an exchange of hours. Even if you don’t take this approach, and you actually give your employees every other Friday off or every Friday afternoon off, you’re likely to find that employees are supercharged to get their work done before that magical Friday hour approaches.

If you’re considering offering summer hours, here are some things to consider:

  • Summer hours need to be offered to all employees equally. If that won’t work for you, then you need to figure out a different type of summer reward. 
  • Make it clear to employees that if an urgent or emergency situation arises, you might have to rescind summer hours one week. 
  • If you’re struggling with what type of summer schedule would work for your business, consider getting employees’ input—being on the front lines, they often have more insights into how to handle workflow.
  • Once you create your summer hours policy, be sure to communicate it to all employees so there are no misunderstandings. Make it clear that summer hours are a privilege, not a right, and that your policy will change back to standard hours if workers abuse the privilege.

Summer hours can be a great way to reward your staff, take some time off yourself and save money on utilities and other expenses.