In recognition of National Small Business Week, we’ve put together some tips to help your company grow. Read on to learn how you can make positive steps toward putting your small business in position to thrive.

Altering regular business hours to allow employees to enjoy summer Fridays is a somewhat common practice, but these days that thinking has evolved into alternative scheduling and flexible work hours. In the past, it was considered cutting-edge to permit employees to leave early on Fridays during the summer months, but companies are now looking at additional ways to afford employees more time to enjoy the summer.

Offering summer Fridays or flexible work schedules shows that companies care about employee work-life balance, and it’s possible do this while still maintaining productivity across the business. While organizations continue to think of ways to keep the company running smoothly while offering employees a bit more flexibility, there are still two common policies. Let’s investigate to see whether either of them might be an option for your workforce.

Summer Fridays

Typically, summer Fridays consist of either a shortened workday or workweek. For many companies, however, it’s not realistic to close down on any given day of the week. Businesses often find it best to institute “3 o’clock Fridays” from Memorial Day to Labor Day. During this time, all employees are free to leave work at 3 p.m., provided there are no urgent matters that need immediate attention. By offering this reduced schedule during a specific period, employees can plan ahead and remain productive while enjoying extra time off during summer.

Flexible Hours or Workweeks

Some companies will allow for flexible scheduling by giving employees time off as long as a 40-hour minimum is met and necessary work is completed. This can come in the form of summer Fridays, four 10-hour days or allowing employees to work a shortened schedule on certain days.

If you consider this option, think about how reliant your customers are on being able to reach you or your employees when they need it. Additionally, some employers use this strategy in a segmented fashion so that there’s always a limited amount of employees out of the office at any given time

Program Considerations and Evaluation

Regardless of what type of flexible summer work schedule you’re looking to implement, it’s important to express to employees that business needs are of the highest priority, and unforeseen circumstances may require that they work a full day or forgo time off when necessary.

Additionally, it should be made clear that the alternative work schedule will be evaluated to ensure that business needs are always being met while still offering employees the most flexibility possible. Often, summer Fridays and alternative work schedules need to be fine-tuned over time.

Creating a reasonable, beneficial summer-hours program will definitely be considered a benefit by your employees. As long as expectations are set and met, employees will know that their life outside of the workplace matters to you and the company as a whole.

Allison Hutton is an experienced writer, editor, communications professional, researcher and social media consultant. During her more than 15 years of communications and writing experience, Allison has worked with a variety of clients, from small-business owners to Fortune 500 companies. She has an M.S. in entertainment business, a B.A. in communication and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and four children.