Let’s start off with an honest confession – Fridays are an extension of the weekend, for most people. Well, that’s not really surprising considering your weekend kicks off with this day and productivity is bound to be low because as the day rolls on, it becomes harder and harder to get any meaningful work done. Procrastination rules through the day and whoever you see on their seats in the office are probably there just because they need to clock their mandatory ‘nine hours’ – not because they love their work or are super charged to tick off those tasks off their to-do lists.
Flow, a project management and productivity tracking software analysed data of over 37,000 of its users and found that 35% less work gets done on Friday as compared to Monday. Now this is surprising – the Friday slump is not only real but significantly high for any business to endure. This brings to the main question – how to make the best of Fridays, so your workforce doesn’t lose an entire workday to inefficiency? Here are three tips:
#1 Ditch busy work, dig into learning instead: Make Fridays different from other work days. While you’d be busy completing projects, meeting timelines, shooting emails, and attending meetings on other workdays, keep Fridays aside for investing into learning and growth. Save aside whatever interesting articles/news pieces/blogs you come across during the week (you may use Pocket, Evernote, or Feedly for the purpose) and dig into them on Friday afternoons. Disconnect from the internet to ward off distractions and go full throttle on reading. Keeping a notebook handy to jot down your learnings helps create a Friday journal of sorts which can quickly become your own mini Friday ritual and before you know, you’ll have another reason to love Fridays! If you anticipate urgent calls/mails coming in at this time, delegate answering those to a virtual assistant or junior team member.
#2 Socialize, network, and nurture connections: Come Friday and most people are naturally in a mood to socialize and get away from office. Then why sit in office when you can more easily get that client to agree for a meeting at a restaurant or coffee shop on Friday, than on any other day of the week? Whether you want to discuss about a new project, gather data for a survey or just build deeper relationships with your existing/prospective clientele, utilize this day of the week to unleash opportunities you likely won’t get on other weekdays. This could also mean utilizing Friday afternoons for team building activities such as games in office, team outings, fun competitions, etc.
#3 Expand the ‘Summer Fridays’ practice to make it a year-round policy: Summer Fridays is a lovely organizational culture involving closing the office early on the Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Up to 30% of American workplaces offer Summer Fridays – an increasingly sought after job perk nowadays. The premise behind Summer Fridays is that working long hours or a standard 40-hour workweek doesn’t necessarily translate into higher productivity. For instance, employees in Greece clock 2,034 hours a year versus 1,397 in Germany, but Germans are 70% more productive than their Greek counterparts. In a bid to boost work life balance for their employees, organizations are increasingly implementing flexi-hours, a version of Summer Fridays or Summer Hours, all the year round. Most believe that contrary to the popular misconception of productivity loss, giving employees a chance to structure their own schedule boosts satisfaction, efficiency, and retention in the long run.