With the changing landscape of the job market, workers are also changing their preferences and priorities. While stability remains an important factor when choosing a place of employment, younger generations value freedom, autonomy, and work-life balance. One of the practices that can help with work-life balance is a shorter work week, so in this article we will explore the concept of Short Friday and its benefits.
What is Short Friday?
The weekends are usually the time when people actually have time for leisure, spending time with family and friends and taking care of personal affairs. Friday is thus already seen as a precursor to the weekend, and it’s common to find workers rejoicing as the day approaches it’s end (“TGIF” is a popular expression).
The practice of Short Friday does exactly what the name implies, reducing the working hours on Friday. It can be done in various ways, such as ending the work day a couple of hours before the usual time, as well as ending the work week after lunchtime on Friday.
Short Friday also makes it possible for employees to reserve this time for personal affairs that are not possible during the weekend, such as a visit to the doctor’s office, or the dentist. These are important for health and self-care, but can often be overlooked in the day-to-day rush.
It’s important to note that Short Friday is not a day off, but a reduced work day. Each company can see which model fits best and choose to adopt the practice weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly. It does not usually impact pay, as this is often given as an extra benefit to the employees.
Benefits of adopting Short Friday
Improves the employee’s relationship with the company
When we think about improving the relationship between the company and employees, little corporate gifts should be the last thing that comes to mind. To truly make an impact on this relationship, the company needs to provide things that genuinely improve the workplace and day-to-day experience of working there. With the adoption of Short Friday, employees know that their work is being valued by their results, and not how many hours they put in. This shift in perspective can improve their own perception of the company, as well as become a benefit they will weight when deciding to remain in the organization.
Going back to the point of productivity, companies that adopt a shorter work week (be it through a 4 day work week or Short Friday) have observed an increase in productivity. With more rest and less working hours in a week, employees can produce good work and can even procrastinate less on tasks. Motivation also increases as workers tend to have a better relationship with their jobs, which also impacts productivity positively.
Rest prevents burnout
Having moments of stress and overwhelm during is sometimes inevitable, but they should not be the norm. Giving some extra time for employees to rest and recover can prevent burnout and other less than ideal outcomes.
While some might argue that the weekend already provides this moment of rest, the reality is that many people accumulate functions at home and at work and reserve the weekend to take care of tasks that could not be done during the week (such as grocery shopping, cleaning the house, and so on) so providing a shorter work week increases the time that can be used for actual rest.
Short Friday as an employee engagement strategy
Finally, adopting Short Friday can increase employee engagement, as this free time at the end of the week can also be used to promote happy hours and other bonding events for employees to get to know each other in a more informal setting. This can help foster a stronger sense of camaraderie between workers and improve teamwork as well.