We love Gartner. Little did you know, whilst you’ve been doing your thing, they’ve been busy doing their bit for every person who is chomping at the bit to get down to that pub garden (spoiler; it’s more of a patio than a garden) or to see family or friends in the sunshine by releasing findings that indicate 42% of organisations will offer their employees “Summer Fridays” this year. This is how trends start, so it’s imperative we start to circulate this news with immediate effect. This is not a drill. It could be the ultimate red herring- but if it convinces your senior leader to give you the big thumbs up for Pimms O’Clock in the Summer months – bring it on. Compounding our excitement is the fact that of the 220 HR managers quizzed – the 42% is an increase in more than 20 percent of the number of organisations that extended similar benefits in 2015 – slowly, surely – we are going to get out of the office. However, as a human being you are no doubt delighted to be told that shorter Summer days could be ahead, yet with your own HR/ Owner/ Manager/ Leader hat on, you’re probably less keen on implementing a whole new policy. Should you follow the trend, or duck out? What are Summer Fridays? The brand name is “Summer Fridays” which is pretty catchy – like Alarm Clock Britain – and it’s a bit of a Ronseal reward as well – it does what it says on the tin. These are days that organisations offer employees the flexibility to leave early or take the entire day off. Balancing the books is key. You might get mileage from adding on a few hours to the start and end of the working day Monday to Thursday, or you might want to take some of the flexibility and get it back in the cooler months. Worth it? If it sounds like a pain, it could be worth giving some brain space to how you could activate even a trial of Friday working. Organisations that offer this type of perk may have a competitive advantage when trying to retain their top talent, as according to data from the CEB Global Talent Monitor, employee confidence in the business environment and their personal economic prospects increased again in Q1 2017 – the fourth consecutive quarter. In addition to feeling better about the global labour market, employees are increasingly seeking out new jobs in several major economies, including the U.S., China and Germany. Whilst that doesn’t mean Bob from accounts in Slough is heading off to work in Frankfurt, it does hint at a confidence in the global economy and in turn, gets people looking. Combine this with Glassdoor, savvy businesses showcasing their rewards and perks and suddenly, a chip off on Friday seems pretty reasonable… A low-cost route to engagement “As the number of employees feeling more confident about their personal job prospects increases, companies must find creative ways to reward and retain their top talent,” said Brian Kropp, HR practice leader at CEB, now Gartner. “Giving employees the gift of time via Summer Fridays is one low-cost way to improve employee engagement, which in turn can increase employee productivity and drive business results.” For many employees, work-life balance is one of the top factors they consider when choosing to take or leave a job. Even organisations that are unable to offer an official Summer Fridays program can capitalise on the importance of work-life balance and reinforce the value they place on employees. How to do it Your policy will guide you, but human nature makes us highly receptive to living in the now – maxing our time out while the sun shines, repenting at leisure when the hours have to be worked back. To prevent the gloom of Winter hitting your employees like a truck, you may want to set a flexi cap. You might also need to consider how Summer Fridays fit in with your current flexible workers, part-timers and people coming back to work following parental leave/ illness. Nah… Can’t do it? Take a different tactic and encourage flexible working, job fluidity (moving roles or projects) or even promoting annual leave and the importance of using it. If you have a real problem with annual leave use, perhaps now is also the time to take a look at buy and sell schemes. We would love to hear your thoughts on Summer Fridays! Tell us in the comments or on Twitter – @IncentiveHub. More Incentive and Motivation News: Take a look at other categories across our site to find out more about employee engagement, rewards and benefits. Employee Engagement | Employee Benefits | Employee Reward and Recognition | New Launches | Interviews and Case Studies | Marketing and Loyalty Don’t forget we’re social too! Find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Post navigation Gift Cards and Vouchers Popular SME Reward What motivates your employees?