Employees love flexibility and that's the benefit of this fabulous summertime perk: Going home early on Fridays. A recent survey of Fortune 1000 companies showed that this is the new perk--with 42 percent of companies participating, up from 21 percent in 2015. This is a perk you don't need to be a big player to offer.
You can make it work whatever way your company needs, but here are some suggestions to make this perk work for your office.
Make it Flexible
For 9 years I worked at a company that offered half-day Fridays in the summer. How it worked was instead of working 8 hours on Monday-Thursday, you worked 9, and then were able to go home four hours early on Fridays. (Keep in mind that in California and a few other localities, overtime pay kicks in at any work above 8 hours in a single day for any non-exempt employee. Almost everywhere else, overtime is only dependent on going over 40 hours in a week.)
For the first four years I worked there, I took advantage of that perk. But, then I had a baby, and with daycare and job-shares and whatever, I didn't. And you know what? Nobody cared. It was my choice. Frankly, being practically the only person on the campus on Friday afternoon meant I was super productive.
You don't want to force anyone into working a summer schedule if it doesn't work for them, but you do want to make it available. Remember, flexibility is the key to employee happiness
Think About Everyone
There are some jobs where it doesn't make sense to have a shut down every Friday afternoon and some where it's okay to have more flexible hours. Closing your store for four hours on Friday afternoon would result in a loss of revenue, but your corporate office could probably still close. But, you don't want to create an "us vs them" mentality where people on the front line feel that corporate just doesn't understand them. So, if you are going to offer this in a company where full shut down at 12:00 on Fridays just doesn't work, consider what perk you'll offer the people who have to work.
For instance, instead of having everyone go home early on Friday, make a rotating schedule so that some people got a half day off Friday afternoon and others got a half day off Monday morning. Both ways extend the weekend and keep you covered.
A Practically Free Perk
Nothing is without consequences, but if everyone works their extra hours during the week, you should get a similar level of productivity. People feel like they are getting a long weekend every week of the summer, and that's worth a lot. I know that everyone at my office looked forward to summer hours--even I did when I wasn't working them because I like peace and quiet.
You can also get some employee happiness by simply extending the Monday-Thursday work day by 15 minutes and sending everyone home at 4:00 instead of 5:00 on Friday. Or, you can ask people to work an extra half hour every day, and take every other Friday afternoon off. Whatever you do, doing something to give people some extra time to enjoy the summer months is a worthwhile perk.