We’ve tried Summer Hours and here’s how it went

AtmanCo implemented a reduced summer schedule. We aren’t the first ones to implement it, but we did do something a little different than all the rest.

Company Culture
Employee Experience
Work Environment

Anne-Marie Boutin

Digital Marketing Manager

Monday, September 20, 2021


Given the landscape of the current job market, it’s no secret that work-life balance is becoming increasingly important to employers across the board. The psychology of having a work zone within a relaxing environment (home) tends to lead to increased stress, especially now that people are still mostly working from home. It can sometimes be hard to unwind or disconnect properly once a workday ends.

Summer hours to promote work-life balance

Summer Hours is an amazing benefit that most employees love, and it comes in all shapes and sizes.

  • Some ask you to do one extra hour of work Monday to Thursday and use these 4 “banked hours” to leave by 1 on Fridays.
  • Some will ask you to cut your lunch-hour by half during the week in order to use your banked time to leave a little earlier on Fridays.
  • Some employers have even pushed for a 40-hour week during the winter to allow employees to have a 35-hour week during the summer.

While all these options are quite popular, it was important for us to make sure we implemented Summer Hours for the right reasons.

Breathing life into one of our most important values

For the first year ever, AtmanCo implemented a reduced summer schedule. We aren’t the first ones to implement Summer Hours, but we did do something a little different than all the rest:

We gave back 2 hours a week, and we didn’t ask for them to be compensated elsewhere.

To us, Summer Hours weren’t about the hype or following the most popular start-up trends. To us, it was about promoting and living one of our most important values: Work-life balance.

With that mission in mind, we’ve implemented Summer Hours the AtmanCo way: 12 weeks, finish at 3pm on Fridays, no hours to make up, and no questions asked.

This change was a huge success, like a breath of fresh air that positively impacted the work-life balance and overall satisfaction of our crew. Here are some of the things our team said about the impact a few extra hours of personal time had on their summer:

« The summer schedule for me is a good gift, especially after the year that just ended. It’s a way to say thank you, to give people permission to take time off to enjoy the summer, to rest, to recharge. It’s a bit like saying to everyone “your fulfillment matters to me”. It allows people to go out of town for the weekend without having to run like crazy on Friday night to get there. It also allows for a better work/life balance, being able to get rid of the unpleasant tasks or obligations on Friday afternoon so that you can enjoy the weekend to the fullest. &nbsp I believe that this contributes greatly to the performance of employees and that in the end it is not an expense but a gain in terms of happiness at work and performance. »

Catherine Dulude
Corporate Coach and Business Happiness Consultant

« Although I was able to enjoy a long vacation this summer, I really appreciated being able to take advantage of my Friday breaks. This little Friday break was really appreciated! The biggest impact is probably on my morale, it just feels good. I was able to leave for the campground earlier, I was able to have cocktails with friends, I was able to prepare good dinners, etc. In the end, since we all know that the deadline is 3:00 pm on Friday, we all manage to finish our tasks and assignments before then and I don’t think it changes much to the production of the troops. For my part, it was a great success! »

Mathieu Lafontaine
Senior Developer

« For me, the summer hours made work a little more fun. On Fridays, I challenged myself to work harder because I knew I would finish sooner than expected. »

Cedric Bayiha Um
Web Integrator

« Having shorter Fridays in the summer allowed me to start enjoying my weekend earlier by doing activities with the kids. Even though I only took advantage of this summer schedule for part of the summer, I really enjoyed the experience and I think it would be something to do again. »

Meriam Azi
Evaluation consultant and project manager

« I absolutely love the way summer hours were implemented at AtmanCo. Even though 2.5 hours a week may not seem like much, these were hours given back to us and we weren’t required to make up for them during the week. The initiative spoke volumes to me because it aligned so well with our values of promoting work/life balance. Our “job” at 3 pm on Fridays was to move away from the screen and enjoy everything else around us – and it was awesome. »

Leen Sawalha
VP Product & Growth

« I am very grateful to Atman and our President Marie-Christine for offering us summer hours every Friday since June. She always values a healthy work-life balance and makes sure to share and implement these values with her team. »

Nanor Manoukian
Talent Solutions Director

« It was very nice to be able to finish early on Friday. It allowed me to leave early for the cottage or enjoy the nice weather on Friday afternoon. It also made the end of the week lighter! »

Charles Eric Vincent
Front-End Software Developer and Team Lead

« The summer schedule has allowed me to enjoy the summer a little more, pick up my son earlier from daycare and spend more quality time with him. »

Sandra Rainville
Potential and Psychometric Assessment Consultant

« I consider it a nice way to show appreciation to its employees by offering them the privilege of finishing 2 hours earlier on Friday. Considering that we didn’t have to adjust our schedule for the week to benefit from it, it’s a gift offered by the management. Personally, this 2 hours often allowed me to do some of the little things (errands, housework…) usually done on Saturday. So I had more “real time off” during the week. It was also a little energy boost for that last day of the week, knowing that it was ending early. Definitely to be repeated next summer. »

Nathalie Tremblay
Accounting clerk

Our president, Marie-Christine Drolet, wanted to create awareness and take the time to define what well-being, balance, and the necessary space that team members need to succeed represents:

The concept of a summer schedule is in line with our desire that our employees take full advantage of this period to recharge their batteries. We seek to foster a healthy balance, which is not always easy to achieve between work and personal life. As an employer, we have an equal responsibility to be at our best to get the best from our employees. Excellence is a two-way street.

It’s no wonder that a gift of two extra hours a week for oneself, as trivial as some employers may think it, makes a real difference. This first experience was immensely positive, and impactful. It has proven to be a #BusinessHappiness ride that may inspire some of you to give the formula a try for yourselves.

What are other ways you would bolster your employee’s fulfillment in these times when well-being is a so important?

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