Ah, Summer Fridays, those glorious half days when you can bounce early every Friday between Memorial and Labor Day. For those lucky enough to work at an agency that does Summer Fridays (if you don't, you're not alone! I only had 'em at 1 out of 3 agencies I worked at), it can be tricky to know how to handle them and use the time wisely, especially when you're an intern or entry-level. Here are some tips on making the most of your Summer Fridays (and navigating leaving early in general) to set you up for an awesome summer.
Stick around if the team could use your help.
You finished all your work, but before you head out, check to see if anyone on your team/project team could use a hand. Not only is this kind of hand raising a best practice for interns in general, but the goal of Summer Fridays is that as many people as possible leave early—not just you. You don't have to stay if there's truly nothing to do for the sake of being available. But the youngest person on the team leaving early every Friday while the rest of the team is working is a bad look. And even if people don't need help, they'll appreciate you asking.
Leave with your head up.
Even with permission to leave early, it can feel weird to walk out at 2pm (or even 6pm), leading to a silent, slinking-away feeling. If you've determined that no one needs your help, embrace the early exit and treat it like any other Friday. Say bye to people and ask how they'll be spending their free afternoon/weekend. Summer Fridays are to be cherished and celebrated, so leave any shame behind.
On the other side of things, you aren't owed Summer Fridays. If you can't leave early due to a client call or your workload, keep your attitude in check—no pouting or complaining allowed.
Plan your Summer Fridays according to what you need.
Once the initial magic of Summer Fridays wanes, it's easy to let the free afternoon get away from you. A little bit of planning goes a long way—think of it as knowing how you're going to use the time and looking forward to it vs. asking yourself, "What should I do?" every Friday.
When it comes to how you spend the time, think about what's going to benefit you most—whether that's relaxation, inspiration, productivity, socializing, etc. Maybe that means going home and binge watching a whole season of a show you're behind on. Focusing on self-care with a long bath and sheet mask. Or going to a museum, art gallery, restaurant or store that's mobbed on the weekends. Taking care of errands so your weekend is totally free. Going out for a day drink with coworkers or meeting up with friends for a picnic in the park.
Ask yourself what you need and plan accordingly. Hopefully all your Summer Fridays won't be the same, and you'll feel like you were able to do a lot more than normal when you look back at the end of the summer.
Ease back into normal Fridays.
The first Friday after Summer Fridays end is ROUGH. You'll wonder how you ever survived full-day Fridays. To help ease yourself back into normal hours, schedule an in-office happy hour or hang-out meeting with your team/coworkers at 5pm. It'll give you something to look forward to, while weaning you off Summer Fridays.
Happy summer! You got this,