I think there are echoes here of the conversations we’ve been having around working at home when you are productive. Being given freedom around holiday is a great concept, but studies show that (as @HAWK says) people end up taking less than when given a set amount as they feel guilty. Buffer tried to do this and they found it became unworkable.
The flip side of this is that no matter how progressive we are in our working habits, most of us have had it drilled into us that time = value at work. For me, that’s built in at a psychological level so feeling confident to take time away from the “more than full day” / 5+ days a week / 48 weeks of the year thing needs constant working on, especially now I have a young family - I’ll never get that contact back if I’m not with them. Ever.
This is within an incredible work environment that @richard_millington creates where we are actively encouraged to set work and time practices that are best for us. What I tend to find though is a mixture of my personal life (daughter and wife’s routine around nursery / work), plus the fact that a lot of clients I work with follow the 9-5 pattern means I revert back to it.
Likewise, I think there is a team factor at play here. When colleagues haven’t taken a break for a while, there can be a feeling that if you do it you’re the weak link or letting them down. Actually, I think taking regular work breaks makes people far more productive when they are at work. As a society, it’s sad that most people treat holiday as some sort of mecca which they are “counting down the days to” and the obligatory instagram airport shot of tickets and a Corona usually says something like “Getting away from the stress for 2 weeks”.
Using limited holiday time to recharge so you can “take on” the next 4 months or whatever is a horrible way to live.
There’s always work to do though and work never ends. Time does. I need to have that tattooed on me