Am I the only one who remembers the summer of 1999, when JFK, Jr. was flying his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and her sister Lauren to Martha’s Vineyard one Friday evening, but Lauren was delayed at work, leaving JFK, Jr. to depart much later than anticipated (and fly in the dark)? Their plane landed in the Atlantic Ocean and all three people died.
I’m not trying to poop on the party or rain on your summer parade by any means – quite the contrary! I merely share this story to illustrate a point – Americans work hard, often times too long and too hard. Even in 1999, before cell phones were popular everywhere, before email on our phones, before iPads, Americans had a reputation for working all the time. Europeans laugh at our vacation policy. In France, they just made it illegal to answer work emails after hours! Sweden introduced a six-hour work day they insist is more productive and leads to healthier and happier work-life balance.
Why can’t we be like France? Why can’t we be like Sweden? We aren’t going in their direction any time soon, but we can do our best, especially as business owners, to support the lives of our team outside of work. So what about summer Fridays? Can your team work from home? Not work at all on Fridays between now and Labor Day? Or leave early by lunchtime on Fridays? Can you add one extra hour to the work day Monday through Thursday in order to have Friday off? What can your business afford to do? If you’re customer service oriented, can you put one person on the phones and give everyone else time off and rotate out that person doing phone coverage every Friday?
Let’s face it. Not much is going on Fridays in the summer. The kids are off school, many of them are in camp, families are on vacation or getting started on their weekend plans early – how much money are you making and how much work are you getting out of your team on Fridays in the summer between the hours of 12pm and 6pm anyhow? Isn’t everyone trading notes and looking forward to a cold adult beverage after work already?
The pluses to summer Fridays are a healthier, happier, more refreshed team. The minuses to summer Fridays are that you get less work time from your team on Fridays, while still having to pay their salaries. But you know what? Maybe, just maybe, because you treat them so well on Fridays, they’ll work harder during the week and accomplish more!
Take a risk and try it. No one dies saying he wishes he had worked longer and harder. Live and enjoy life this summer!
DASHA® Enterprises, LLC works with independent practices and servicing providers that offer an integrated holistic solution to reach your total body well-being. The “independent client providers” share our philosophy of total body health and work with us to bring you an all-inclusive experience.