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News

Companies Increasingly Cutting Summer Fridays

By:
S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Jun 14, 2024

GettyImages-executive-office-1065050352

The increasing prevalence of hybrid work may have led more companies to drop Summer Fridays in favor of more work-from-home days, CNBC Make It reported.

Just 11 percent of North American workers said they have access to Summer Fridays, a November 2023 survey of more than 1,100 by Gartner found, compared to more than half—55 percent of organizations—that offered the benefit in 2019.

Companies are doing away with Summer Fridays, the policy that allows workers to take a few hours or the entire day off during summer months, now that work-from-home Fridays are becoming more common in hybrid workplaces, said Caitlin Duffy, senior director in the Gartner HR practice.

Goldman Sachs cancelled Summer Fridays last summer, The New York Post reported. Other companies, such as UPS and Boeing attempted to scale back on workplace flexibility that emerged during the pandemic by increasing return-to-the-office requirements, The Wall Street Journal reported in January.

“Leaders are looking to their peers to get a sense of what others are doing, especially if they’re competing for the same talent,” Duffy told CNBt. “But we have heard HR leaders still say they’re concerned about the impact of return-to-office on their ability to attract and retain talent.”

Yet some firms are bucking the trend. Kyle Lacy, the chief marketing officer at engineering management platform Jellyfish, introduced Summer Fridays to his department for the first time this year. The company’s policy is fairly open-ended for the roughly 20 people who are eligible, starting at 2 p.m. every Friday from June to August.

“When a team is doing good work and meeting goals, then a couple hours [off] on a Friday isn’t going to affect that,” he said in an interview. “I’ve seen it [work]—I believe when you give people time to do things they enjoy, they’ll enjoy their work as well.”

A majority of the 523 workers surveyed by Monster in June 2023 who get summer benefits said that the perks don’t negatively affect their productivity, and 66 percent said these benefits actually helped to boost their productivity.

Interest in a year-round four-day workweek has grown in recent years. Dozens of companies around the world have adopted permanent shortened workweeks after trial runs that improved worker productivity, happiness and business outcomes. In March 2023, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) reintroduced his 2021 bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours. A year later, Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.) introduced his own legislation that would reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours without a pay cut.

Duffy told CNBC that she is not concerned that a decline in Summer Friday offerings could diminish momentum around a four-day workweek. Roughly 10 percent of U.S. workers say they have a year-round four-day workweek, and that share has trended upwards over time, according to Gartner data.