Q: What are some considerations that a business needs to consider before implementing a summer Friday policy?
A: Many organizations enjoy some sort of a Friday work policy. This could be working a half day on Friday, coming in earlier than usual and leaving early, having a company party at noon, or wearing nonbusiness casual clothing. But before you institute these policies, you should think through several considerations.
Do you know where your employees stand on these issues? Have you talked with them regarding these practices? Your history as an organization also plays a role. What have you done in the past and has it met your expectations for appropriate employee behavior and organization productivity?
There is a trend toward more-flexible work schedules. Perhaps you have already crafted an alternative work schedule policy that makes a summer-oriented Friday procedure simply not needed.
And what about your customers? What are your customer interactions on Fridays and how will those engagements affect your policy? Maybe customer interactions are no different on Fridays than other days of the week regardless of the season and a special Friday ritual is impossible. This situation would require discussion with your employees, so they understand how their tasks and the organization’s culture affect the policy.
Then, of course, there are legal and payroll considerations. Nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek are entitled to overtime pay (there are exceptions to this rule for some medical and government jobs).
Also, will you pay nonexempt employees less per week to match the hours lost on Friday if those hours aren’t made up earlier in the week? Some sort of tracking system is needed to ensure that you are observing federal, state and local regulations. Of course, this payroll issue doesn’t pertain to exempt employees.
Finally, you must analyze your weekly workflow and understand how occurrences at the end of one workweek affect the beginning of the next.
Discussions with your senior-management team and employees will help you devise a policy that works both for employees and the organization.
Michael Sheppeck is an associate professor of management at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.