This last weekend, I took the weekend off along with a half-day on Thursday and a full day on Friday. I called it a mini-vacation and it was fantastic. I turned off email and (for the most part) social media and enjoyed some digital free time. Like many of you, I’ve been running hard the past few months. Long days, working weekends, etc. Spring break was skipped and we’re running headlong into summer. At some point we all need to take a moment, ideally a few, and recharge. A week off right now felt like a step too far, so I decided to start with a smaller step. It was a good reminder both of how needed it was as well as about the importance of taking what you can.
I was talking about this with a group of CEOs on Monday when I was back. We had a good conversation not just about the importance of their each getting a break, but also about how to encourage people throughout their organizations to recharge. As part of this discussion we also talked about summer planning and how they’re approaching the summer schedule in general and encouraging employees to get some vacation time in, even if the lock-downs prevent them from venturing far from home. I was encouraged that a number had already communicated to their teams a handful of different workflows for the summer. Some were experimenting with Fridays off for a month or 6 weeks. Others were instituting half day Fridays for the full summer. Most were talking about digital free weekend days (in some cases full weekends) where Slack and email were strongly discouraged across the company (meaning that everyone was offline at the same time and where this was a shared expectation across the entire org – days to unplug, which used to be what we used weekends for without having to give/get permission).
These pauses are so important for both mental and physical health. Even if we can’t take traditional vacations with travel right now, there are opportunities to get outside and hike, go camping (even if it’s in your backyard) to break the routine and monotony of the past couple of months. I’d encourage you to think about it for yourself and for your team or organization.