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Summer hours can help small businesses boost employee morale and combat burnout

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June 6, 2024
By The Associated Press

As the temperature heats up and summer approaches, small business owners may be considering offering summer hours, such as an early release on Fridays, for employees to help combat burnout.

According to a May report by the Society for Human Resource Management, 44 per cent of 1,405 surveyed U.S. employees feel burned out at work, 45 per cent feel “emotionally drained” from their work, and 51 per cent feel “used up” at the end of the workday.

And since it’s harder for small businesses to offer better pay and benefits to boost morale than big businesses due to their tighter margins, summer hours can be a way to offer employees a perk at low cost.

But there are some things a small business owner should keep in mind before offering reduced summer hours.

Consider employee workload and deadline schedules. If it’s not feasible to offer all employees the same hours off, consider staggering time off. Or offer the same summer hours — but every other week instead of every week.

Once you’ve committed to offering reduced summer hours, such as a 2 p.m. end time on Fridays, put it in writing, including the start and end dates of the policy; and let staffers know well ahead of time exactly what the policy will be.

Finally, at the end of the initial season of summer hours, do a post-mortem. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t, so you can adjust the policy as needed.

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