4 things to do NOW to get Summer Fridays in July

(MoneyWatch) As March comes to a close and Spring brings with it warmer, longer days, it's natural to start thinking of spending time outdoors with friends and family, and wanting to make the most out of your weekends. That's where Summer Fridays come in, if your company can swing them.

Last summer, this blog outlined the benefits for companies (that you might want to share with your boss), including burnout prevention and procrastination reduction. This year, why not start planning now so you're all but guaranteed this perk by the dog days of July?

Here are 4 things to do to ensure you'll be enjoying longer weekends by Independence Day:

Show (not tell) that you're reliable.
Before you even ask about Summer Fridays, you want to alleviate your boss's biggest fear--that work won't get done. By asking for 1 on 1 time now, he or she will see you're proactive as well as efficient. "These meetings are a good chance to sync up on work priorities and find out if your boss would [even] be open to Summer Fridays. In addition, regular meetings with your boss are also an opportunity to align on your performance and the goals you should be focused on attaining, if not exceeding," says Rusty Rueff, job site GlassDoor.com's workplace expert.

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Suggest re-arranging your hours.
When requesting any time off, including Summer Fridays, you want to cause the least disruption. The ultimate way to do that is to rearrange your hours, instead of asking for less of them. "For example, you could work longer days Monday through Thursday so that you can enjoy three-day weekends during the Summer. Four 10-hour days might be the better way to approach the conversation versus 'I'd like Friday's off,'" notes Rueff.

Get together some prime examples.
You're not the first person to propose Summer Fridays, so find out what worked for friends at other offices. And talk to colleagues at your own company. "Find out from old-timers at your company if Summer Fridays were ever done before or even proposed. Maybe this isn't acceptable in the company culture. It doesn't mean you can't change that but you want to know how uphill this battle will be," says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, partner at career consulting firm Six-Figure Start, adding that you should also ask about the company's history on other flexible schedule issues, like telecommuting. "These might be a proxy for how they'd feel about Summer Fridays," says Ceniza-Levine.

Remember: timing is everything.
"You want to ask on a day when the boss is in a good mood," says Sharon Armstrong, author of The Essential Performance Review Handbook. This might sound obvious, but it's crucial to start planting this seed early and when your boss has time to consider it. Asking in April is going to give everyone involved enough time to make it work well in July and August.

Photo courtesy of Amadda 44 via Wikimedia Commons


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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.