There are many things to love about summer: sunshine, barbecues, vacations, time spent with family and friends. But best of all may just be summer work hours. Whether they see the importance of this benefit or they’re just trying to save on cooling bills, workplaces that give employees Friday afternoons off are doing a great service for their employees. In the event that you are a lucky summer hours employee, let’s take a look at just a few ways to make the most of them.

1. Treat Yourself

Perhaps the most fun approach to summer hours is simply to blow off steam. Head to the spa, go for a massage, take a walk in the park, indulge in a long lunch, get your nails done, or head out on the trail with your mountain bike. The possibilities are limitless when you have all of Friday afternoon to play. Your boss thinks you’re worth it. After all, you’ve put in so many long hours the rest of the week — and you should too!

2. Get Those Errands Done

If you’re like most adult humans, the weekend isn’t exactly two days. Instead, you spend one day getting your errands and chores done, leaving only one day left to relax before you have to head back to work. Not so when you’ve got summer hours on your side. Use this time to get ahead on the weekend’s chores and errands so that you’ve got two full days to relax.

3. Work on a Passion Project

Google is famous for its 20% time. That is, time off for employees to work on any passion project they like. The company finds this policy well worth it, as it often leads to the most creative kinds of innovations that they actually can use in their business. And even when that doesn’t happen, the company sees the importance in letting the minds of their employees wander beyond the static thinking of the everyday. The freedom and creativity that employees embrace in their 20% time has a way of changing the way their neurons fire, and that’s something they carry over into their everyday work.

Consider your summer hours your very own 20% time. Whether you explore a different topic or create a new project within your career discipline or go totally wild with something completey new, allow yourself to get outside of your everyday, and even take a creative risk or two. Doing so will refresh and rejuvenate you — and you never know what you might invent.

Cans of paint with brushes and palette samples on wooden background

4. Spend Some Time With the Kids

It’s hard to find quality time with the kids, and those weekends are often far too crammed with sports practices and piano recitals to spend much one-on-one time together.  Why not take this extra time to do something special with them? Take them on a fun outing, like a canoe trip on your local lake, to the mall for a shopping spree, or out to lunch to have a heart to heart? Summer hours are the perfect time to make that life-work balance a little more, well, balanced.

5. Do a Little Professional Development

No matter where you are in your career, it’s important to consistently develop yourself and have an eye turned towards what’s next. But getting proactive with your career can be easier said than done when you’re caught up in the every day. Summer hours are a perfect opportunity to do a little professional development. Take this time to meet up with your mentor. Get coffee with someone you’ve always meant to get to know better in your professional network. Attend a meetup within your career interest areas, or even take an online course. You’ll develop skills as you go, not to mention connections and a better sense of what you’re doing both now and in the future.

Summer hours are a breath of fresh air for every employee. How do you plan on spending yours? Let us know in the blog comments.

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