Summer Fridays

The other day, a fellow designer asked us where we get our design inspiration. Our answers surprised even ourselves a bit.

Museum.

Long hikes.

The water.

Camping.

Boredom.

Wandering Minds.

Reading.

The list could go on. One thing is certain, though. These moments of inspiration all require one thing that there seems to be precious little of these days: Time.

It is common to hear people in our industry proudly talk about being too busy. Working hard. Late caffeinated nights. “Crushing it.” Here at Needmore, we tend to think of this fast paced, hard hitting ethos as the absolute opposite of what it takes to dream, think, and design big.

Instead, each Friday in July and August this summer, we’ve headed out at noon each Friday in observance of our first every year of Summer Fridays. The plan was pretty simple: leave the studio at noon on Friday and return Monday morning refreshed and ready for the week.

This being our first year of attempting Summer Fridays was a bit of experiments and taught us that there are some kinks to work out for next year.

Own It

It’s easy to think of Summer Fridays as a great perk and tell everyone on the team to go for it. In reality, it can be a bit harder to make it a habit.

As an owner, I tend to miss the distinctions between work and home life. There are definitely times where I’ve worked past noon on Fridays over the last couple months. What I didn’t realize was that I was signaling to the team that they might actually be expected to stay late as well.

Lesson: If you’re going do this Summer Friday gig, it needs have buy-in from the top down.

Schedule Accordingly

Summer Fridays are not about cramming all of your work into a shorter week and then running out stressed on a Friday afternoon. Instead, the goal is to have reasonable work weeks that allow everyone to leave at noon without a stressed out rush to the end.

“Removing a day each week forces you to prioritize the work that really matters, and let the rest go. It’s not about working faster, but learning to work smarter.” – Kris Niles

Lesson: Scheduling is important. Summer Fridays aren’t going to work if you shove 8 hours into 4 hours on the last day of the week. 

Communicate

When hours shift, let clients know. That way, they aren’t caught emailing you at 1pm on a Friday and wondering if anyone has heard them. We let clients know here and there about our plan, but next year would send out a note at the beginning of Summer letting everyone know about the change in scheduling.

Lesson: Communicate right away with clients.