A few years ago, we started a tradition at Kitestring of offering our team “half-day Fridays” during the summer. Each winter, these summer work hours are a much-anticipated perk for everyone at Kitestring. In the following post, we talk about the benefits of summer hours for a business.
To account for ending our Fridays early, the team pulls together during the week to ensure that nothing gets left behind and no deadlines are missed. We work a few extra hours during the week so that we can enjoy the Friday sunshine and spend more time with our friends and family, or take a little time to ourselves!
Why summer hours? For our team, the short work week has created:
Improved Work-Life Balance
The number one reason we offer summer hours is to help promote a healthy work-life balance. Weekends are the time when we recharge, spend time away from our “work families”, and get rid of the week’s stress. If you’re anything like us, your weekends get pretty booked up in the summer and getting a few hours head start on things makes a big difference.
Increased productivity and quality at times when it matters most
Employee productivity is known to dip during the summer, but we find that compressing our week just a little bit makes us more productive during the times when our work and clients really need us. With a lot of clients and partners on holiday during the summer, we find that Friday afternoons are already more internally focused
Decreased employee burnout
Winters can be long, dark, cold, and quite frankly, depressing. We leave for work in the dark, go home in the dark, and work hard in between. Summer is a time when we can finally take a breath, enjoy some sunshine, and make up for the hard work we’ve done throughout the long Canadian winter. People are known to come back from a long weekend with increased energy and less stress, which ultimately leads to a happier, healthy team.
Improved culture and satisfaction
Although we love spending time as a team, having the time to enjoy the summer helps us all appreciate who we are as a business. The anticipation and appreciation that we all have for summer hours make it an obvious choice for us as a business. There are some things we’ve learned over the years about implementing our summer hours policy.
Here are some things you may want to look out for when deciding if implementing summer hours is right for you and your business:
Set some ground rules
Everyone on your team has to be on board, and understand that the work has to get done at some point during the week. If one team member is not taking the shorter week into account during the rest of the week, things can fall behind. Be clear as to whether you expect the time to be made up during the week, and when that can be done. In our case, we take a little less time during lunch and make sure to be in a little early or stay a little later in the day.
Everyone’s role is not created equal
With a shortened day, you have to take everyone’s roles into consideration. We ran into the unfortunate situation where our Director of Client Services was stuck staying late on Fridays because when the team’s work was finished, she still had to send out files and communicate with our clients. To make up for this, we planned deadlines to make sure she got everything in time to let her enjoy the summer hours too.
Sometimes, there’s something that just can’t wait. We’re always ready to answer the call (or email) if needed.
Summer hours can ruin the whole day
Depending on your team and culture, a shortened Friday can easily lead to an entire Friday without any real productivity. It’s important to set your expectations and make sure Friday mornings are productive.
It may not be a great fit for everyone, but we love our summer hours. Not so sure? Pick a Friday and give it a try! We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
What our team has to say about summer hours:
Sometimes you need to take a break from the job in order to be better at it. Giving everyone a few hours of space each week to explore new things or just spend differently is always a highly anticipated and fruitful exercise for both our team and our business.Jenn Hudder
Summer hours mean work stays at work and we can all make the best of the summer weather. It means being more engaged with my community, more time with friends and family, and ultimately better mental health (yay!). Summer hours make for better Kitestringers, and better Kitestringers means for better work for our clients.Marin Hudson
I love summer hours. It gives me the opportunity to not only soak in more of the sunshine, but it allows me to feel more refreshed and energized coming back into Monday morning.Katie Stiel
Who doesn’t want a head start on the weekend… every weekend? I try to use my Friday afternoon time to either get a head-start on a weekend camping trip, catch up with friends, or have some productive creative time in my studio.John Smith
Summer Hours have been a huge way for me to find some much-needed me time in the weeks while the kids are still in school. I use the hours to run errands or even sit on my front porch with a book. Once school is out, these hours give me a triple win: 1) spend a bit more time with my children, 2) leave earlier for the cottage (when our friends decide to invite us up), and 3) save money on the summer babysitting fees as we need only pay for the half day.Kelly Riley-Dunbavin
A little extra time on Fridays helps me stay up to speed with what’s happening in Hamilton. There are so many great things to do in the city – especially in the summer so it’s nice to have a few extra hours to spend outdoors.Alisa Garcia