One more day (off)

by Jason on December 28, 2011 · 0 comments

Vacation sign by Dan4th Nicholas

A one day break from, well, anything can easily become a two day break, which leads to the few days break, which leads to the “why not make it an even week” break, which quickly and nearly effortlessly can become an indefinite hiatus.

It’s true of fitness, habits, and yes, business.

One of the challenges to running your own business is that the hours are defined by you.  There’s no boss looking over your shoulder, no card to punch at the start and end of the day, just you.  Sure, your workload might dictate your time, but that’s a workload that was chosen by you as well, and when you get to, oh, I don’t know, Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus/etc where in most cases the workload eases down while the rest of the world takes a break, it’s easy to take a few days off and then watch that time expand slowly.

In my case this year I took the 24th to the 27th off (yes, I’m aware that covered a weekend and two statutory holidays) with today, the 28th, being a slow “ease back in” day where I let my mind and body purge some of the excesses from the past few days.  But it very nearly became a full week, because I made the critical mistake of not actually scheduling a return date.

There are some who say that year end is the perfect time to double down and work straight through to gain an edge over your (presumably) slacker competitors.  I think there’s greater value in planned rest and recovery, but beware if it’s not strictly scheduled or you might find the time off was a lot longer than you thought it’d be.

Photo by Dan4th Nicholas

Unlimited vacation

by Jason on August 9, 2011 · 2 comments


Guin tweeted a link to the Social Media Group‘s new HR policy for vacation time: take as much as you want. Paid.

Basically they stopped tracking it back in October, and while the sense is that people are taking more paid vacation time, that’s kind of the point, since they want to have refreshed employees (and use that as a competitive advantage, I’d guess,) but so far people aren’t booking months at a go, opting instead for weekends and afternoons.

This is one of those things that reminds me of web hosting’s “unlimited” bandwidth promises (and yes, those quotes are important, ha) since as the article points out, most employees anywhere have trouble taking their full allocation of vacation time anyway (back when I worked at a company that had such things, I know I had that issue, plus overtime, but anyway…)

It’s what I hope will be a sign of an overall trend to treating employees like grownups, but I doubt it would work in every industry. Actually, it’s not the industry so much as the culture within an organization.  If you’ve got a culture of clock watchers and people who make sure they get every second back if they stray 2 minutes into lunch on a call, then I could see some serious problems with open vacation.  On the other hand, if your organization’s culture is one where people know they’re being compensated for their commitment to the mission, chances are they’re already doing more than their contractual share anyway.

(Photo by nigelhowe)