For the last few years, Imagine has closed down from Christmas through New Year’s Day. If a client or media outlet needs help or information, anyone they need is pretty easy to reach. But for the most part, employees are home with their friends and families. It’s a reset.
I think there’s value in an annual reset. A winter break, if you will. In school, we worked for nine months and had the three months off in the middle of the year to hit that reset button and get ready for the next school year. Somehow, when you leave school and become an adult with a big kid job, that idea of an annual reset turns into vacation days (unless you’re a teacher at a nine-month school), which you have to earn. At Imagine, we’re lucky we received our vacation days pretty much from the time we started, but other companies make employees wait an entire year before they earn their vacation days – if they get any at all.
Around here, the annual reset is refreshing. Business doesn’t suffer. Clients aren’t abandoned. Media outlets’ requests don’t fall on deaf ears. We’re just not in the office, and we answer phone calls from our couches or while we’re out doing holiday things with our families.
For me, it’s a built-in New Year’s Resolution. I come back and clean up my workspace and catch up with co-workers I haven’t seen in two weeks. I look at the year. I plan vacation days. I put work trips on the master calendar. It feels like the winter breaks in school, where everyone would talk about what they got for Christmas or Hanukkah and what they did on New Year’s Eve.
By the end of December, I was exhausted. What would normally be small potatoes was the whole Las Vegas buffet because the compacted stress from the year was coming to a head. Just when I needed a break, I got one. I didn’t have to worry about being on vacation while the rest of my department picked up my slack. We were all on even terms — all resetting at the same time.
I’m sure there are many business owners who think a self-imposed, company-wide break isn’t good for productivity and impacts revenue negatively. I can’t attest to the revenue. I can tell you people are refreshed and happier to come to work – and work together. If we measured productivity, I’m sure it’s higher by leaps and bounds in the months of January and February than in the last few weeks of December. In that case, the end justifies the means – at least at Imagine.
Tiffannie Bond is a media relations specialist and company photographer at Imagine Communications. Click here to email Tiffannie.