Want Your Employer To Give Summer Fridays Off? Try This

By Vickie Elmer

In the summertime, workers long for escape, for long weekends and flexible hours.

Some 28 percent of workers wish they could leave early on Fridays and another 41 percent say flexible schedules are their favorite summer benefit, according to a new OfficeTeam survey.Leaving early on Fridays has been a tradition in New York for many years, and it has spread across the country. Almost two thirds of companies allow it, the OfficeTeam survey indicates, though it may be limited based on department and work needs.

If you want more beach or play time this summer, make sure you've added value during all four seasons.

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"It's about being an indispensable, highly valued employee that any boss and company wouldn't want to lose" and so they may be willing to grant your request, said Margie Warrell, a master coach and author of Find Your Courage.

"If you have built a strong track record as someone who is highly reliable, organized and on top of their portfolio, then you are well placed to make a request for some extra flexibility over the summer months," she said. You need a record of finishing your work and handling the unexpected crisis promptly and properly.

If you're seeking Friday afternoons off, create a plan that shows how all your work will be completed by midday Friday and addresses any back-up needs and any last-minute tasks that arise, Warrell suggests.

Show how you understand the business needs and work flow, and consider whether the flexible schedule or Friday afternoons off could rotate among staff in your unit, suggests Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. Research your company's policies and find out what works in other departments, too.

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Be sure to stress the benefits to your employer, Hosking said. Indicate how flexible schedules could help in staff retention, engagement and even in productivity, he said.

If you have an old-fashioned boss or one with fixed ideas on how work should run, Warrell admits it may be very difficult to convince them of the value of greater flexibility for you or the whole department. Still, you want to have a conversation to remind them of your track record and the value of granting summertime flexibility – the sense of long-term commitment it could develop, the show of trust, and the ability to refresh the team.

"It's all about trust. Trusting your good intentions to fulfill your obligations and responsibilities. Trusting your long term commitment to being an outstanding employee. Trusting your short term ability to get your job done in untraditional working hours," she said.

Trust too that the summer's sweetness and your own value may combine this year to give you a few more hours of sunshine and fun, or a few less hours stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

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