Ah, sweet summertime—three full months of daylight-drenched evenings, warm-weather antics, and highly anticipated out-of-office alerts.
And, of course, the sweetest summertime perk of all: Summer Fridays—a trend that's gained traction over the past several years in corporate offices. According to research firm Gartner, around 55% of companies offered the perk in 2019. The practice has become even more popular since the onset of the pandemic and the resulting rise of remote work.
Summer Fridays look different at different organizations. Some companies let their employees clock out early every Friday from June through August, while others offer entire Fridays off every other week. But for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and legions of self-employed workers who are accustomed to hustle culture, Summer Fridays may seem far-fetched. When you work on a team of one, it's hard to justify time off—no matter how necessary it is for your work-life balance.
But making Summer Fridays part of your own work-from-home routine might not be as out of reach as it seems. Here are a few tactics to make this coveted work perk a reality.
There's little doubt that meetings are one of the biggest time-sucks for office workers of every stripe. In fact, research suggests that meetings take up between 35-50% of our working hours—and that they tend to be less productive than expected.
Streamlining meetings is one of the best ways to get back a few coveted hours each week—which you can then tack onto your Friday afternoons. According to The Muse, a few ways to make meetings more efficient include shortening them to 30 minutes or less, setting clear expectations, sending materials (like an agenda) in advance, and staying focused and on track during the meeting itself.
If possible, you might even consider making Fridays a "meeting-free" day of the week. Even if you cannot take the full day off work, you can at least revel in the serenity of an open calendar.
Strong WiFi is perhaps the most foundational element of an efficient office, whether yours is in a brick-and-mortar small business or simply at your kitchen table. After all, it's impossible to reach peak performance if bandwidth snafus are slowing you down. It may be time for an upgrade if you're experiencing WiFi dead spots, lag time, or sluggish connection speeds.
Plume HomePass is an all-in-one solution for making the most of your home WiFi and ensuring a smooth, consistent connection—one that adapts to your usage patterns and anticipates your WiFi needs.
The old adage that "the customer is always right" is a thing of the past. While catering to customers and clients is, of course, a key part of running a small business, the "customer comes first at all costs" mentality can be a fast track to burnout.
Per ZenBusiness, you can set boundaries with clients by only replying to emails during established business hours (or even during a few designated times of day). You can also use separate devices for your personal and professional lives, turn off work devices during your off-hours, and be proactive about managing meetings.
When it comes to carving out some time for Summer Fridays, let your clients know early on (and often) when you'll be available to chat through questions. Consider putting office hours in your email signature or posting them on your website, so there's no ambiguity.
An optimized home tech stack can work wonders for your productivity. Thanks to smart home technology fueled by the Internet of Things, there's no shortage of ways to get creative with your smart home office.
Consider implementing environmental upgrades like smart lighting that adjusts according to the time of day—research by UNC suggests that cooler lighting that mimics natural sunlight is the best for boosting productivity. Find the optimal temperature for your home office with a smart thermostat. You can even keep your coffee warm or program it to brew at a specific time of day with a smart coffee maker.
Making Summer Fridays part of your workweek does not have to be a stretch—you might be surprised how much more you can get done with a few of these productivity hacks in place.