Summer is here and for the freelancers of the world without the mandatory summer holiday rule to make sure the kids are taken care of, we are mostly guilty of working on through without even the thought of a summer vacation or weekend retreat. I recently read an article about TED and how they give their employees a mandatory two-week summer vacation.
TED.com is an inspiring organisation, not just for their conferences, initiatives and programmes, but also by the way they look after their staff in order to ensure 100% motivation and productivity.
Not only do they allow their office to close down for the Christmas holidays, as is the norm for most offices worldwide, but they also shut their office for two weeks during the summer months too.
Employee productivity dwindles during the hotter months, everyone is dreaming of a holiday they might never take unless they are pushed to do – how many of you reading this are guilty of not planning a break into your summer months? (I’m one of these people!)
If their staff were allowed to stay in the office all of the time, they would literally never stop. They don’t simply put on the odd conference to inspire others around the world, but they are constantly updating their social media feeds and website with interesting articles – as freelancers, we certainly know all too well how long that “to do” list can get.
They allow their staff to take the same two weeks, closing down the office completely, because if they stagger breaks they can never get a full job done whilst waiting around for the return of a colleague. If everybody leaves at the same time, then productivity levels are high before AND after their holiday, allowing for a much smoother schedule.
If things go a little squiffy technically, then they are quoted as saying that there are a few key people on call should they be required, so don’t panic, TED.com isn’t going to malfunction for a few weeks whilst the team are sunning it up in Barbados!
It’s so easy to overwork yourself and get into a very long working-day routine without such rules in place – I’m the first to raise my hand in guilt I have to say!
This has really got me thinking, I keep saying that I need a holiday and if I don’t take one soon, I think my business may suffer as a result, so this is superb advice and I take my hat off to these guys, what an inspiring work ethic they have.
Do you force yourself to take a regular holiday, no matter what your work status?
I’d love to hear from you and how you manage to switch off that laptop & phone in the comments below!