This piece originally appeared on Monster.com.
Combined, these three words usually conjure up a collective annoyed sigh, heard through upholstered cubicle walls—that is, unless your work offers one of the best perks possible in the modern workplace.
Of course, we’re talking about “summer Fridays.” For those unfamiliar with summer Fridays, this is when an employer allows its employees to duck out a few hours early—or in some cases take the entire day off—on Fridays that fall usually between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The free time off doesn’t count against the employee’s allotted vacation time and typically exists to give employees a jump on the weekend.
Monster ran a poll earlier this month, asking, “Does your company or organization offer summer Fridays?” Of the near 10,000 U.S. respondents, a lucky 7% of employees get an early dismissal every Friday of the summer and 5% on some Fridays. But if you find yourself slaving away in the office every Friday afternoon, you’re not alone. Our results showed 88% put in a full day’s work every Friday of the summer.
While the poll’s results suggest that most companies have yet to jump on the trend, a number of major employers proudly offer the perk. This is the story of summer Fridays, along with a short list of companies who encourage their employees hit the beach instead of the spreadsheets on sunny Friday afternoons.
Friday is for flexibility
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average full-time American worker gets 10 to 20 days of paid vacation a year, but some businesses use summer Fridays to cut their workers a little slack. It’s implied that summer Friday hours are totally off the books for employees.
And it’s a perk workers seem to love—87% of people with the benefit said summer Fridays contribute to a healthy work/life balance, according to a study by Ultimat Vodka, who commissioned the study to go along with the company’s 2012 brand campaign that used the concept of work/life balance. But summer Fridays are good for employers, too. The same study found that 76% of employees who have summer hours actually felt more productive as a result of this flexibility. Workers tend to bemore distracted during the summer months, and summer Fridays can help counteract that.
As for those who spend their Fridays working hard (or, let’s be honest, hardly working), the Ultimat Vodka survey found that about three quarters would take advantage of the perk if offered. They also believed summer Fridays would help them find balance between their work and personal lives, not to mention boost office morale.
Fifty years of Fridays
Believe it or not, summer Fridays have been around for a while. We can thank the New York City advertising agencies of the 1960s for this summertime perk—they originated the trend when workers left the city early for weekend excursions to the Hamptons.
Today, agencies like Interbrand, Annalect and Situation Interactive keep the tradition alive by offering summer Fridays to their employees. But the concept has since spread to other industries across the country.
Take the health care sector, for example, with EMD Serono and Progyny, Inc. offering the perk, along with Pfizer and its…wait for it…summer “Pfridays.” Cosmetics company Estée Lauder also offers this warm-weather benefit to its employees.
Find a summer Friday employer
If you’re really looking to get in on the deal, CNN shows you’ll have the best chance at a small company: 14% offer the perk, as opposed to 5% of large companies. Think small public relations firms like Coyne and Finn Partners, but even media giants likeViacom and Omnicom Media Group like to treat their employees to a few off-duty summer hours.
So why are you still sitting at your desk? You could work for these companies by applying on Monster today.
But first, go enjoy your Friday—it only comes once a week.