Who knew that giving employees longer weekends could be a best practice for getting more done?

Companies that let workers leave early on Fridays--or any day of the week--if they make up the hours on other days, can help boost employee morale with little or no impact on the bottom line, according to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

"At a time when many organizations are asking people to do more with less, providing workplace flexibility is a way to get at morale issues with a relative low cost, or no cost, to the employer," Lisa Horn, co-leader of SHRM's Workplace Flexibility Initiative, recently told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In the U.S., more businesses are doing just that. Some 43 percent of U.S. companies offer flexible work schedules to at least some employees, up from 38 percent in 2008, SHRM found. The survey looked at more than 1,000 businesses with 50 or more employees.    

At Wisconsin-based engine manufacturer Mercury Marine, vice president of human resources Denise Devereaux says having flexible schedules during the summer actually helps increase productivity because workers are hyper-focused during their regular hours. 

As Inc. previously reported, imposing rigid work schedules can lead to a drag in productivity. Here are three reasons why:

It doesn't build trust.

Employees should be passionate about doing a good job. Let them do it in the ways they see fit. That way, they're more likely to own their work and desire to be the best they can be.

It's distracting.

It's highly unlikely that your employees' tasks just happen to fit nicely within a 9-to-5 schedule. Don't let them get stuck thinking about how many hours they've clocked rather than whether they've completed their tasks.

It works against teamwork.

Having individual team members bound by set hours often produces tension over who's pulling their weight. Instead, let your employees focus on meeting team goals and collaborating to make it happen. 

According to the SHRM survey, small businesses are more likely to offer flexible working hours than larger companies. Would you let your employees set their own schedules?