2. July 2024

Why is everyone talking about… 'soft Fridays'?

Personio Pulse: This Week in HR - 3

Welcome to Personio Pulse: This Week in HR, where each week we take a look at the latest trends in the world of work, what you need to know about them and what they mean for you as an HR professional. 

This week, we’re talking about ‘soft Fridays’ and how your HR team can use them to drive employee engagement.

What you need to know

Ever feel yourself watching the clock when it comes to about 4pm on a sunny Friday afternoon? The latest perk from the US could help that. According to Fortune, the number of job listings that mention ‘summer Fridays’ (i.e. the ability to finish work a little early to go and enjoy the sun on Fridays during the summer) has increased by 56%. 

Companies like the design agency Codeword have been piloting ‘soft Fridays’, an initiative for their 100 employees that enables them to decide if and how they work on Fridays. For this, managers are encouraged to set deadlines on Thursdays, limit the number of meetings on Friday and follow the strict rule of 'no agenda, no attendance' for those and indeed every meeting.

What others are saying about it 

For Talent Acquisition and Training Lead Sharon Jautz, it’s a no-brainer for businesses to offer it to employees as a low-cost, but high-impact perk: “Summer Fridays don’t mean you stop working; they simply mean you can answer emails and phone calls from any place other than your desk at the office. In a post-pandemic world where even the news was broadcast from homes, why on earth isn’t this a common practice?”

It also offers the additional perk of supporting the caregivers who work for your organisation, she adds: “It would make a world of difference for employees’ wellbeing and for working parents, it’d be a game changer. Who the hell does any heavy lifting after 2pm on Friday in the summer?”

What that means for you

As with any new perk you offer to employees, you’ll need to ensure that you create clear and well-documented communication around the expectations here. You’ll need to discuss and agree with your leadership team the changes needed for this benefit to actually become a reality for your employees. This might include:

  • Industry considerations: While it may not be feasible for industries such as customer service or retail to offer this every week, consider creating alternative arrangements like rotating schedules, staggered closures or make it monthly.

  • Adjusting workloads: If introducing this will impact critical deadlines or project timelines, discuss strategies with teams to manage workload effectively during this period. Evaluate if these timelines can be brought forward or backward.

  • Department fairness: Consider how ‘soft Fridays’ will affect different teams and especially employees in roles that require coverage on Fridays. Is there a less busy day that can be offered to them if Friday is a particularly busy one?

  • Job adverts: Don’t forget to use this new perk to your advantage by making it an attraction play for new candidates and employees. Start including ‘soft Fridays’ in your job ads and company page to reinforce its place in your company culture.

What else should I read? 

That's all for this week's edition of Personio Pulse: This Week in HR. Check back next week as we continue to dissect the latest trends impacting the ways we work. 

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Hannah Popham

Hannah Popham

Hannah is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Personio. She loves writing about the ever-changing ways that we work and how they intersect with our lives outside work.

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