Have you ever had a company-wide vacation? No, we’re not asking if you and the rest of the team have all boarded the same plane to Italy – we’re asking if you and the team have ever taken paid time off simultaneously to recharge.
Like so many other workplace evolutions of the 21st century, company-wide vacations are a burgeoning trend that was never thought to be realistic decades ago. However, in a post-pandemic world where every single work practice is reconsidered down to the bolt, the biggest names in business are picking up on them.
This is far from standard practice, though, and not all executives are convinced company-wide vacations are anything more than an unnecessary canyon in their calendar. Should you give your team a vacation, how long should it be, and how many people should be included? Let’s take a look at what works and what doesn’t:
The pros to vacations themselves are clear; beating burnout and improving your work-life balance is what vacations are all about. The question is why everyone on a team should take their PTO at the same time, and if it’s worth the halt in productivity.
The answer lies within an alarming statistic found by Qualtrics last year: 49% of employees work at least an hour a day while on vacation. That must break the Geneva Convention!
As awful as that sounds, though, it’s reality for a lot of workers, especially for those that already operate from home. Emails aren’t going to stop and responsibilities aren’t going to disappear just because you’re taking time off. Thus, millions of people end up checking up on tasks and conversations while on vacation, whether in their bedrooms, at a red light, or even on cruise ships.
That’s exactly what company-wide vacations aim to fix, by creating a purer vacation that leaves no place for stress. Even if it’s not time off for an entire corporation, giving a 10-person team the same days off has an equal effect. After all, 90% of your work interactions are with the same handful of folks.
“But,” cries out the old-fashioned CEO, “what about all the lost productivity!?” At first, you might think he has a point, but there are two elements to consider.
One, evidence has always shown that burnt-out employees are less productive, and it’s reasonable to believe a team may actually achieve less with more consecutive days of work. Secondly, consider how often projects have slowed down and tasks have been shelved because one important person is out for the week, and when they come back, someone else is out for the next week.
De-synced teams can lose a lot of time to inconsistent schedules and clashing time off. On the other hand, when everyone’s absent at the same time, everyone returns at the same time, and teams keep up their pace.
So, a company-wide moment of paid time off will lead to a more refreshing mental reset and help cure the 27% of American workers that don’t feel rejuvenated after a work vacation. What’s not to love?
In reality, there really isn’t anything not to love about company-wide vacations. That said, there are ways to do them wrong, and scenarios in which you shouldn’t do them at all. Let’s run through some warnings.
The biggest mistake you can make when planning company-wide time off is officially counting it against everyone’s PTO. Your staff isn’t technically asking for those dates in particular, so including it in their PTO is effectively robbing them of some choice in their own vacation time. Don’t do that.
Another misstep leaders take is overanalyzing how this will affect the quarter’s profits, deals, growth, etc. A handful of missed days shouldn’t make or break your organization’s financials, so you shouldn’t worry about your company first – instead, worry about your consumers first.
Some companies can take some days off without most of their user base even noticing. Nothing against HootSuite and Linkedin, but a week off for their team really only impacts their “Contact Us” tab for a few days. This is the case for many tech companies, which gives them a leg up when it comes to company vacations.
Unfortunately, there are just as many companies that don’t have the ability to take large-scale time off at all. Transportation, grocery, and hospitals are some industries that can really hurt the consumer if they suddenly were to become unavailable for even one day. None of these companies would go out of business during a company-wide day off, but the consequences for the people that rely on them can be too great to bear.
Perhaps your team is somewhere in between, though, and you’re not sure if giving them the time off is worth the hassle. Ultimately, that may have to be the deciding factor. If preparing for the time off would involve extra meetings, heightened stress, and a lot of cramming before the vacation starts, then it may be best not to bother.
In conclusion, company-wide vacations are great – but not for every team. If your employees wouldn’t return from their time off to a five-alarm fire, though, then send them out on one of the most refreshing vacations they’ll ever have.