Summertime brings with it dreams of vacations and lazy days spent by the pool. Some business owners opt to give employees a jump-start on the weekend — or on heading out of town — by offering special summer hours.
Summer hours have increased in popularity in recent years. In 2012, 75 percent of human resource professionals surveyed by OfficeTeam said their companies offered summer schedules.
While the mention of extra time off will likely make your staff smile, as a business owner, you’re probably wondering how much this happiness will cost you. Is it worth it?
The true cost depends on the method used to implement a summer-hour schedule and your business goals. Only you can make a decision in your business’ best interest.
No matter what you choose, if the thought of customers or clients finding your office empty worries you, consider asking a receptionist to stay and answer the phones. Make sure employees put notices on their email, alerting clients of summer hours to set expectations. You could also require employees to keep their phones nearby, sporadically checking email in case of an emergency that demanded immediate attention.
Here are a few of the most common ways to offer a summer schedule:
- Allow employees to leave early on Fridays, but add those hours on to the rest of the week. For example, if you let employees leave at 1 p.m. on Friday, they might work an extra hour each day from Monday through Thursday. This compressed workweek ranked as the most common method of adopting a summer schedule among businesses in a 2005 Society for Human Resource Management survey.This method ensures that employees continue to work full weeks and maximize productivity while enjoying long weekends. As a drawback, not all employees may want to work an extra hour from Monday through Thursday. You could offer flexibility, giving staff leeway to create their own schedules as long as they work the required number of hours, or ask people to opt in to summer schedule hours at the start of summer.
- Close early on Fridays, allowing employees to work fewer hours while earning the same pay. Consider it comp time for your employees, a bonus for their hard work all year long.The down side to this from the business owner’s perspective is, of course, you pay employees for hours not worked.
However, many company owners find that perks such as summer hours help to retain top talent, which pays off in the long run. The OfficeTeam survey found 41 percent of employees cited flexible summer schedules as a favorite benefit, with 28 percent of employees specified early Friday departures as the most cherished.
If you implement this schedule, be sure to stress that staff must still meet deadlines. An early Friday departure doesn’t constitute a valid excuse for a project turned in late.
- Open and close early. For example, if your normal hours run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., you might open at 7 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. This method ranked the second most popular in the SHRM survey.
Shifted open and close times may work best for traditional, retail-based companies and may not apply to professional workers who have less defined schedules.
Each business has different needs, and picking the option that works best for you and your employees will net the best result.