Friday Awesomeness: Spend Matters Implements Summer Fridays, Starting Today!

Before moving to Chicago, I had never heard of summer Fridays. I suppose people don't need them in more temperate climates like Seattle. But after the longest winter of all time and finishing my master's degree, I must say: all I really want to do this summer is get a tan, read books for fun (foreign concept), play tennis, and teach my rowing lessons. And now I will be free to do these things as Spend Matters implements "Summer Fridays," where the office will close up shop at 2pm every Friday, starting today.

Doesn't that cut into the productivity of the office? Plus, if we calculate the number of Fridays from now until Labor Day, that's 45 hours of vacation time that will be paid out -- an entire week extra! Why would we make such a crazy move?? I sat down with Lisa yesterday (who is taking over the CEO reigns around these parts) to discuss her and Jason's reasoning behind the decision.

"First off, productivity," she said. "A happy employee is a productive one." True: studies have shown that when you're happier in your job, you'll produce a higher amount of better-quality work. And it's true: knowing that I'll have that extra three hours means that I'll work all that much harder to complete my big tasks by Thursday, so that on Friday I can do maintenance and preparation for Monday. From a management perspective, Lisa suggested that by tying morale to productivity, everyone benefits (employees and managers alike).

From an employee perspective, I think we're finally coming into an era where benefits go beyond some sort of crystal figurine at the five-year mark or "casual Fridays." When Lisa asked Taras and I for a list of suggested benefits that we'd find true value in versus those that would be offered and never utilized, frankly, I was floored (I've never had a company ask that before). In the book "The Thank You Economy," author Gary Vaynerchuk says "while perks might make employees think harder before deciding to leave, there are only two things that make employees really, really happy and make them want to stay...being treated like an adult, and feeling that his or her individual needs are being met." By reaching out to Taras and I and asking what we wanted and what we found valuable was 100% more effective than dumping a benefits package into our laps and saying "oh, here, pick and choose from these limited options."

It's a proven fact that organizations that "churn" employees are less efficient than those that take the time to build employee loyalty and longevity. Think about the time and effort it takes to hire, train, and set up a new employee when an old one leaves. This goes for services providers and BPO firms you might be working with as well. By finding out their programs to retain employees and calculating overall churn on current projects and at the firm (e.g., by looking at a combination of log-on, credentialing and related information combined with expense and other reports) you very well might get a good direction of overall vendor performance to come. For both your employees and your suppliers, not only does churn result in a loss of productivity for the position you hired for, but it's also a loss of your own productivity as a manager, as you must now take the time to get that new employee up to speed.

So, Summer Fridays it is. I hope I don't waste them -- but I gotta go now. Outside is calling.

- Sheena Moore

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