I always ask clients if they’re planning on taking any time off this summer. I’m delighted when they tell me yes. I admonish them when they say they haven’t taken a vacation in years. I have seen the value of time off for every single person I’ve worked with. Getting away from the stress, the colleagues, the commute, the office, and the work itself just has to happen once in awhile. It’s good for you; and if you’re the boss who wants your people to work constantly — know that it’s good for your staff, as well.
Here’s where I really push the envelope. Not only do I think people should take vacations, I think for some people, working more than eight hours a day can be really damaging. A new article in Forbes says there’s evidence that working long hours may kill you. It’s not hard to believe, if you’ve known anyone or been the person who is at a desk all day, never finding time for exercise, eating right, managing stress, and having healthy relationships outside of work. Work less. Live more.
The last firm I worked for before starting my own introduced the concept of “Summer Fridays” to me. Every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day the office shut down at noon. It was glorious. It was hard, sometimes, to get organized enough to finish the necessary work to get out on time on Friday, but the goal was certainly there. I’ve committed to the practice in my own firm and while I’m always connected (unless I’m truly on vacation) by phone, text, e-mail, etc. just in case, it’s important to me to have that weekday time to recover and refresh. (Anyone who thinks weekends are for that either doesn’t have kids or doesn’t have friends. My weekends are often way more exhausting than the Monday-Friday week.)