Why Your Company Needs a Summer Hours Program

Updated: July 15, 2010

Action Plan

Make use of some of the "best practices" that other organizations have implemented by following the action plan below:

  1. Survey Your Employees - Survey your employees to determine what incentives they would enjoy during the summer. If, for example, you offer a summer hours program and most employees cannot take advantage of it, there will be little benefit. Getting your employees involved in designing the program, through survey results or employee feedback, can boost the usage of the program and engage employees through the summer months. This is a cost-effective way to provide a valued employee benefit to allow workers to get a jump-start on the weekend or spend a little more time with family and friends.
  2. Implement a "Summer Hours" Policy - Develop a policy to implement any changes such as summer hours or flexible work options. The policy should outline who is eligible, what options are available, when the summer hours program comes into effect (such as June 1-September 1), how employees can obtain approval (if needed) and explain the purpose of the policy. It should be clearly stated that this policy is being implemented to reward employees for their hard work, however, work must still be completed and deadlines adhered to.
  3. Establish Application Procedures - If there are different options available for the summer hours program, such as working a condensed workweek or adding an extra half hour to the workday to accumulate and take a day off, require that employees complete an application form and review it with their supervisor to agree on a plan that works for their particular position/department. A systematic approach should be taken so that supervisors know when employees are expected to work and when they will take any accumulated time. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to manage staffing.
  4. Monitor the Program - Monitor the program to ensure that the plan is being followed - there is no sense in implementing summer hours if time is not permitted for employees to leave as planned. Some supervisors will cringe when employees approach them to discuss special schedules. If employees are afraid to ask to take advantage of such programs, or get discouraged by their supervisor's reaction, they will not see a value in this employee benefit. This could lead to an increase in unplanned absences throughout the summer months, which would be even worse than working around planned schedules.
  5. Evaluate the Program - At the end of the summer, evaluate the program to see how it can be improved for future years. Like any other policy or program, it needs to be evaluated periodically to ensure that it is meeting the desired results.
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