9 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer Fridays

“Happy Friday” has a whole new meaning when summer nears. Roughly from Memorial Day to Labor Day, some government agencies let employees shift their workload so they can leave early or take Fridays off.


These Summer Fridays are partly a job perk. They’re also an acknowledgement that, during these sun-drenched months, traffic jams up earlier and barbecue grills need prepping. Summer Fridays don’t just benefit employees—the days can boost employee morale and productivity without increasing costs.

If you have Summer Fridays on your calendar, what can you do to make the most of these special days?

Picnic the afternoon away


Pack a picnic lunch and, even if you have to be in the office in the morning, you can be chowing down in the sunshine mere minutes after you bolt out the door. All you need is an insulated picnic basket, waterproof blanket, sunblock, and food and drinks. Sandwiches, cheese, pasta salad, olives, and fruit all make a tasty picnic spread.

Get things done


A chunk of time like Summer Fridays can be just what you need to check things off your to-do list. Conquer a challenging home improvement project. Weed, seed, and sow to get your garden in shape. Channel your inner Marie Kondō to purge clutter and organize all the things. Do that loathsome chore that you’ve been putting off for too long.

Put it on ice


Hot Summer Fridays require cold treats. Give yourself brain freeze from a milkshake or blended adult beverage. Enjoy a fast-melting ice cream cone on a lazy walk. Try your hand at making homemade popsicles or shaved ice. Stock your bar and shake up summer cocktails or mocktails, as you prefer.

Make new friends


Summer Fridays don’t have to be all about you. Volunteer at a nonprofit to give back to your community in way completely different than you do at work. If you’ve got an entertaining talent, use it to bring joy to the kids at a local hospital. Stop by a retirement home and sit down with a senior to read them a book or just spend time listening to the stories they enjoy sharing. Or take some new furry friends for a walk through your community’s animal shelter.

Get wet


No matter where you live, there’s an ocean, river, lake, or pool nearby that’s perfect for cooling off on a hot Summer Friday. Go swimming, surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, or rafting. Get a little silly by leaping through a lawn sprinkler, hurling yourself down a backyard waterslide, or instigating a water balloon fight or super soaker battle.

Up your cultural intake


You don’t need to pay Broadway theatre prices to put a shot of culture into your Summer Fridays. Search for free or discounted admission to museums and cultural institutions, especially on the first Friday of the month (bonus, air conditioning). Look for outdoor plays, dance, and music at your local park. Check library and community center calendars for special events.

Enjoy childish things


There’s nothing like a small dose of summer vacation to bring out your inner child. Let off all that pent-up office stress by screaming through a roller coaster ride. Get a group of friends together to play govie-appropriate board games like We the People Fight Tyranny, Constitution Quest, The Presidential, Civilization, or just good old giant Jenga. Set up a backyard fire pit and roast s’mores over a crackling fire while sharing scary government bureaucracy stories.

Get smarter


If you want to have a purpose to your Summer Fridays, use the time to increase your knowledge. Focus on your professional chops or your personal passions. Pick up a new life skill like first aid, car repair, self defense, or cooking. Hone a professional skill like public speaking, coding, GIF making, video editing, budgeting, or a new language. Read a book that can help you be successful in the public sector.

Do nothing


Who says you have to accomplish anything special on your Summer Fridays? The time is yours and yours alone, to do with as you wish. Don’t feel guilty if you choose to spend your Summer Fridays aimlessly. What matters is that your Summer Fridays make you a little bit happier.

What are your plans for your Summer Fridays? Share what you’re looking forward to in the comments!

Lauren Girardin is a marketing and communications consultant, writer, and speaker based in San Francisco. She helps organizations engage their communities and tell their stories. Her website is laurengirardin.com and you can connect with her on Twitter at @girardinl.

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