In a job market rife with uncertainty almost two years into the pandemic, employees have codified one practice to let them start the weekend early: work-from-home Fridays.
For those long accustomed to being stuck in a cubicle until 4 p.m. or later, the great remote-working experiment has created opportunities to fine-tune schedules and get a jump on the house chores, hobbies, and family time that would have previously been relegated to Saturday. Here are some productivity hacks to achieve the perfect end to your work week:
Start early. Forget about sleeping in—a sunrise wakeup is the secret sauce to starting the weekend Friday at midday. James Diel, chief executive officer of customer-service-by-text company Textel, gets up early, starts work early, and leaves early. “Though it requires a bit of practice, watching sunrise while I write emails with a coffee in hand is relaxing and helps set up a great weekend that starts midafternoon rather than early evening.”
Front-load your schedule. For some, protecting Friday afternoons means shifting the intensity to other days. “I try to be as efficient as possible early in the week and maybe put in extra hours on Wednesday or Thursday,” says Baruch Mann, CEO of free financial-education program the Smart Investor.
Avoid meetings. Just one Friday afternoon meeting can destroy an early-weekend plan. “I always suggest meetings for the other work days,” says Calloway Cook, president of supplement company Illuminate Labs. “If there’s a last-minute request or Friday is the only time available, I can usually schedule the meeting for Friday morning, so I can stick to my ideal work-from-home Friday routine.”
Some employers are setting aside meeting-free time. At public-relations agency Murphy O’Brien, free-form Fridays begin at 1 p.m. “We are still monitoring important client emails and responding, but we have the liberty to book an afternoon workout class or take an extended lunch,” says Brandon Muratalla, an account supervisor at the agency.
When bosses insist on a Friday team meeting, one subtle strategy is to suggest a group ritual that is inherently a morning activity, such as breakfast. “My favorite Friday tradition is hosting a virtual breakfast club meeting with my team,” says Madeline Blackstone, a U.K. wedding planner. “It’s a fun way to get everyone into that weekend spirit while putting in the hours at work.”
Clear away chores. No one wants a weekend heavy on housework. “My favorite thing about working at home is doing chores during my downtime,” says Brandon Brown, CEO of influencer management platform Grin.co, who fills the gaps between Friday calls by watering plants or washing dishes.
Another tactic is to finish work tasks early and then attack laundry and bills all at once. “I get my work done by midafternoon and then get a head start on housework and home admin,” says Marcin Stryjecki, search engine optimization project manager at appointment-booking service Booksy.com.
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