Taking time off / holidays

(Sarah Hawk) #1

I’m taking a couple of days off around this weekend and it’s brought front of mind how infrequently I do that – which is not a healthy thing. I think it’s another symptom of working remotely.

One of the benefits of working at FeverBee is that we have unlimited leave/holiday time (thanks Rich). The reality of that situation is that you tend to take less time off than you would if you had an allocation that you kept track of. I tend to take 1.5 weeks off over Xmas/summer but that’s about it. I take a day or two over the year for family events/graduations that kind of thing, but not just to relax or holiday.

I’m guilty of not switching off. Even when I do ‘take a holiday’ I check in, schedule quick calls or meetings to fit around other people, answer emails, answer Slack. @richard_millington is excellent at reminding us to check out, but I struggle.

Does anyone else suffer from this? Do you have strategies to switch off?

(Priscilla McClay) #2

I am the only dedicated member of staff working on my community and I will shortly be taking
my first long block of time off since starting in this job (I was previously in a team). Someone else in my wider team will be looking after things in my absence, supported by my boss. Things I will be doing to prepare for the break:

  • Making sure the cover person has plenty of training, processes and templates

  • Not having work email on my phone or any device I might take with me

  • Turning off all email notifications from the site, so I don’t come back to a ridiculously full inbox

  • Turning off private messages to my account, so that there are no messages sitting unanswered for ages

  • Letting the most active members (who might be likely to message me) and volunteers know that I’m away, and how to get in touch with my colleague in my absence

I am generally pretty good about not looking at or thinking about the community while I’m on holiday - I think it’s particularly essential for working on health communities, or any communities where the content is quite sad or hard going.

(Darren Gough) #3

Interesting topic.

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 :slight_smile:

(Travis King) #4

Raises hand.

I often get in trouble because I never take a day off. Even when I travel I work.

I think maybe it would help if I start a little savings account that I can put holiday money into so that I’m not tempted to work while I travel. Taking a true day off can be a wonderful thing…I should really try it out someday :smiley:

(Sarah Hawk) #5

This is a good one. I’m going to do that now (she says, working from the airport lounge).

(Richard Millington) #6

We had a former employee that constantly posted messages like “TGIF!” or “2 weeks away from this stress!!”. I have to admit, it made our discussions a little awkward.

For about 5 years or so, I was doing 12 hour days. I think we’re in a position now where it’s more likely to be 8 / 9 with an hour for lunch and an hour for working out as part of that. My wife works 9.30 until 6.30, so I tend to work those hours too. I try to take at least 2 to 3 weeks off a year, but I think that’l grow to 4 to 5 in the coming year.

Time Management Tricks
(Darren Gough) #7

I think it’s sometimes just catharsis but there’s a definite difference between looking forward to something (travel, spending time with family in the sun, dubiously named cocktails) and being actively over negative or abusive about your employer/employment.

(Marjorie Anderson) #8

I end up having the “you need to take time off” conversation with my manager at the end of every year. For me, I think I just get so engrossed in the day to day that, before I know it, it’s the end of the year and I’ve only taken about a week off in total for the entire year. I’ve tried to be more aware of it, but I’m probably going to have that same conversation again at the end of this year. And even when I am out of the office, I’m still checking my e-mail and responding to questions.

It’s definitely something I need to get better at.