Answer: 55% of American companies across industries have instituted a summer Friday policy in 2019
Memorial Day has come and gone, and so has the month of June. With the Fourth of July right around the corner, it’s fair to say that America’s summer season is kicking into high gear. This year July 4th falls on a Thursday, which is fantastic if you get the following Friday off. It turns the best day of the year into a four-day weekend, extending time with family and friends, making travel plans (hypothetically) easier, and allowing workers to step away from the office for just a few more days. So what about the rest of the Friday’s that fall between the magical summer dates of Memorial Day and Labor Day? How many Americans work for companies that institute the so-called, “Summer Friday” rule, whereby employees can work half-day or potentially not even come in at all? Well, according to a survey by global research firm Gartner, 55% of American companies across industries have instituted a summer Friday policy in 2019. Not only that, but this number is up from 40% in 2017 and 44% last year.
More and more companies are implementing summer Friday policies to help combat burnout Flynn Zaiger, CEO of marketing agency Online Optimism, told Business Insider. Zaiger concedes that while, on the whole, fewer hours are worked during the summer, when employees are in the office they tend to be more efficient. Their productivity seems to skyrocket Monday when they’ve had two and a half to three days to relax and step away from the office. In cities like New Orleans, where Online Optimism is based, the hot summer months can take a toll on workers, so paying attention to their mental states and getting ahead of burnout can be crucial. As we noted in April, it’s no secret that Americans work hard. In the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week. A Gallup report estimated that the average full-time worker in the United States works 47 hours a week, one of the highest figures in the world, and significantly higher than the rates in Western Europe. These long working hours create habits that other countries don’t understand. Americans tend to eat at their desks, barely take any family leave, send emails after work hours, and worst of all hardly ever go on vacation. According to CNBC, only 28% of Americans plan to max out their vacation days this year.
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Despite more and more companies giving their employees extra days off during the summer, it doesn’t mean that getting away from the office is going to help workers escape the seemingly endless to-do list. Ladders sums it up perfectly, saying “Americans have mixed feelings about summer: we love our long weekends and summer Fridays, yet we regularly let work encroach on our hard-earned vacations.” In fact, according to a report from project management software company Wrike, on average “more than one in three Americans expected to work while on vacation. Women are less likely to work while on vacay: 30% of them intend or work or plan to be available to work, compared to 40% of men.” As we’ve noted previously, research shows time off may be a good chance for workers to catch up on much-needed sleep and medical studies have shown that long hours can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. With that said, as we inch closer to July 4th and the second half of summer, do your best to be productive during office hours and if given the chance to unplug, especially during “Summer Fridays”, take advantage of it. Before you know it, Labor Day will be here and with it, mark the end of shorter, warmer-work weeks.