Most companies want to keep employees happy during the summer months, without losing productive hours from those same employees. One solution that many companies have found is offering workers the flexibility of having an early finish on Fridays. Workers either come in an hour early or stay an hour later 4 days a week, so they can work a 4-hour day on Fridays.

The concept of having flexible summer hours sounds great in theory, but it does not work for every business model. For companies who are heavily contacted during regular business hours for sales and customer service calls, closing the office early on a Friday afternoon might not be an option. However, as much as you warn customers of early closings on Fridays, they still expect to have their calls answered when the need help at 4:45 on a Friday afternoon.

So what is the solution? We have a few ideas that might help you.

Alternate the weeks that various front-line employees get to leave early. For example, call them Team A and Team B. This week, Team A gets to leave early on Friday, and next week Team B gets to leave early. Another way to sell this concept to employees and still have people working until days end on Friday, is to give Team A the entire Friday off this week and Team B the entire Friday off the next week.

Getting off work early on a Friday may not be attractive to everyone, but being able to get off work early because of summer hours during a mid-week day might work for others. For some people, getting off early on a Wednesday or a Thursday to attend a child’s baseball or soccer game may be better.

Offer incentives to employees that do not want to work “Summer Hours” and would rather do things as usual. For workers who do not want to change their working hours and get off early on Fridays, offer a gift in the form of sports tickets or entertainment event discounts. A pair of baseball tickets for a weekend game can be an inexpensive treat that says you value their service to the company.

Time Banking is another way to give employees motivation to work longer hours, while their coworkers enjoy the flexibility of Summer hours. This allows some workers to work extended hours and fill in the gaps of their fellow employees who take Summer hours, but allows them to take a few days off after the busy Summer season when fellow workers have scheduled their vacations. Some companies will even give employees 1.25 or 1.5 days’ worth of Time Banking for each day that an employee does not use during a prime time when most other employees ARE taking time off.