Some workplaces have not only embraced the summer doldrums, they've turned those agonizingly slow Friday afternoons into a cheap perk dubbed the "summer Friday."
A number of employers, acutely aware of the fact that workers are daydreaming of being anywhere but at the office, let them take the day off or leave early on Friday afternoons in an effort to boost morale and productivity.
In a survey of more than 200 employers, about 42% of them were offering summer Fridays this year, according to a study from Gartner, a business and technology research company. That's up considerably from 2015, when about 22% of companies offered the perk, the survey found.
For most employers, offering flex-time is cheaper than doling out raises or bonuses. And giving workers some time to themselves can help avoid burnout, said Courtney Clark, a motivational speaker who works with businesses on employee retention.
Clark, an author and owner of Accelerated Strategies, said letting employees out early on a Friday to do something as simple as running errands can really boost that person’s self-esteem and better prepare them for success.
“Fridays off can mitigate burnout because it allows employees space to include actions that are more meaningful to them,” she said.
When employees include more meaningful activities in their lives like spending time with family or volunteering, it reduces the likelihood of burnout and increases employee retention, Clark added.
Cara Silletto, president and chief retention officer at Crescendo Strategies, said many workers are overloaded and expected to do the job of "one-and-a-half, if not two people." A flexible schedule, in some cases, can help.
"They’re having to sacrifice at home or in other areas in their life if they have to work so hard,” she said.
A May survey by staffing firm OfficeTeam found that 39% of workers are looking for flexible schedules this time of year, with 30% of those surveyed wanting the ability to leave early on Fridays during the summer.
That same survey found the number of employers offering the perk was actually down from the last time their survey was conducted (2012).
"Letting employees modify their schedules, leave early on Fridays or dress more casually when it's hot out are easy ways to keep them loyal and engaged," Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, said in a statement.
Though offering time off on Fridays may seem like an easy fix, consultant Glenn Nishimura said offering the perk is no Band-aid.
“If there’s problems with productivity, if there’s problems with employee engagement, there needs to be a larger overhaul,” he cautioned.
“If they’re not happy in their work, they’re not going to be productive regardless of what season it is,” he said.