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The case against 'summer Fridays'

(MoneyWatch) Does your company offer "summer Fridays"? If so, are you taking them? In principle, they sound great, with employee getting paid to get their weekend started early. Yet only 12 percent of 1,201 employees polled in a survey by Ultimat Vodka said their companies offered this benefit. So are the other 88 percent missing out? Maybe not. Here are five reasons why summer Fridays might be worth it:

Those Fridays can be an opportunity to shine. If most of your co-workers take summer Fridays and you don't, you can get plum assignments and enjoy more recognition simply because you're there. Particularly for younger employees trying to shine, empty offices at the end of the week can be an opportunity to snag the spotlight.

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You can be highly productive. In a blog post for LinkedIn, career consultant Nicole Williams writes: "While your co-workers are at the beach sleeping off Thursday night's hangover, you can be getting a lot accomplished in your very quiet office." Without your phone ringing off the hook or back-to-back meetings, you can catch up and get ahead. And that can help you avoid staying late all week long.

You can work on "passion" projects. Williams refers to projects that you're excited to do as "passion" projects. Have an idea you've been jazzed to pitch but haven't had a chance due to the usual grind? Slow Fridays during August may be just the time to dive in and get your thoughts ready for a September proposal.

They can make the rest of your week more stressful. Unless you're actively taking advantage of a half day Friday to travel or spend time with family and friends, it might not be worth it to you to cram all your work into four-and-a-half days. In fact, according to the Ultimat survey, 41 percent of people offered summer Fridays turn them down because their workload is too heavy.

You might not get paid for them. If you're a contract or freelance worker and only get paid for the hours you work, summer Fridays can be a real financial drain. Plus, some people who are self-employed may wish to take (unpaid) days off that accord with their personal and professional schedules.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Wojciech Kowalski

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