It's Friday!!!  If you're like most people, you're already pretty motivated end the day and get home for your weekend.  Heck, even if you're a leasing consultant, a position that traditionally works the weekend days, you're still motivated to end this day and get home because odds are, you have plans for tonight.

But is that really the motivation that you want to have, or to model to your staff?  After a long week, or even a shortened holiday week like this one, it's too tempting to try to sprint the last 100 yards of the race to the finish line.

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It's human nature - so why fight it?  Let's make it work for us.

A lot of companies are doing just that.

According to MSNBC, during the recession and in the years following, despite all the cut backs and wage freezes and layoffs, the one perk that many companies have kept is shorter friday hours.  This is especially prevalent in small companies/businesses, which, while many of you out there work for large corporations that manage several properties, each one of you also essentially works in a "small business" because of the way that your onsite teams are able to engage on a very personal level with your clients.

The president of a New York PR firm, Karyn Ravin, says that it's a smart move because  it helps you attract and keep good employees, it's a good morale booster, and it's an easy way to reward and motivate your employees.  She mentions that those employees, due to downsizing and layoffs, are now working harder than ever - a situation that is paralleled in our own industry that cut many onsite positions during the economic downturn.  A lot of those positions have not been restored to the properties because they are "running just fine without them."

Short summer Fridays are a great job perk - but what about customer service?  We can't just close the office every Friday early.  We will lose leases and we won't be able to respond to the resident needs that arise that afternoon.

The whole point of looking outside our industry is to find good ideas and ADAPT them for our world, not copy them in whole.  So here are a few adaptive ideas:

  1. Make it a contest - Every week in the summer, put an early out Friday up for grabs to the person who leases the most apartments, takes the most deposits, contacts the most residents for warm touch calls, etc.  You can even put one up for grabs with your maintenance teams for things like the most calls answered and successfully completed within the week or fastest apartment turn time, etc.
  2. Use it as an out of the blue motivator - start your Friday morning with a leasing staff meeting and tell them that whoever is the first to take a deposit gets the early out Friday.
  3. Do you have a resident event coming up?  Why not use the lure of an early out Friday to get your office to personally invite residents, voice to voice or face to face?
  4. Are you a regional?   You could easily adapt this to your manager pool, offering a short summer Friday to the manager who's property gets the most leases that week, or is financially performing the best for that week.  You ask for all these reports from your managers... why not make them worth their time to fill them out, and encourage them to push the numbers at the same time?
  5. You could even run this contest in the quarter before the summer months, allowing employees to win their early out Fridays and put them on a calender early so that you can line up coverage if needed for those days.

Remember, early out doesn't mean early clock out.  We're talking about paid time off here - so get the authorization before you put this in play.

What do you think?  Does a half day on Friday motivate you?

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