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Holidays, we all need them, and by law you are entitled to them. Traditional companies allocate their employees between 15 and 21 days of leave on average, per year. Often a bulk of that is forced over Christmas and New Years time when offices are closed.
But startups are not traditional workplaces by definition. Often the way you operate and approach work at a startup is creatively, spontaneously, and adaptively… at the least that’s the ideal. So why shouldn’t a startup approach holidays in a similar fashion. Here are some examples I’ve come across that break the mould of the traditional holiday break.
When building up a startup, you can’t always afford to take extended breaks over festive seasons, perhaps these are your company’s peak seasons. So instead of forcing your employees to drearily come to work while everyone else is on the beach, you could send them on a ‘Workation’ — essentially still working, but in another, more exotic location.
How it works is that an employee will continue to work in the same role, but in another city, performing their duties, but now for their new, temporary city, for a few months.
The Workation will not only provide a break from the daily grind for that employee, but it might inspire and encourage creativity, while also providing perspective on the startup’s global play. However, this option is not available to startups only operating in one city, so here are some other ideas.
#2 Spontaneous Holidays
Sometimes you’ll feel that your company is down on energy. There might have been some tough clients, or it’s just been a rough couple of weeks for everyone. One surefire way to pick everyone’s mood up, is to announce a spontaneous holiday.
Tell everyone to drop what they are doing, and get them outside, ideally for some physical activity. Whether this means the beach, ball sports or a picnic. Make sure its something that practices teamwork, and get the vitamin D up. If you can’t drop everything on that day, give your employees a few days notice so they can reschedule any important meetings.
Employees are entitled to sick leave, annual leave, unpaid leave, and compassionate leave. But some companies have introduced a new kind of leave — a ‘me-day’ leave.
Effectively it’s a set amount of days you give to your employees, paid, that they can take off with no explanation necessary. It’s a ‘me-day’. The only caveat being that they can’t be taken consecutively, on either side of annual or sick leave, or on a Monday or Friday. It’s meant for your times when employees have mid-week fatigue and just need a day to themselves.
#4 Google’s 80-20
While not physical leave from the office, Google’s 80-20 rule — that allows employees to work on their projects 20% of the time — is a kind of mental leave that could see your startup flourish in its problem solving, and creativity. There are many ways the 80-20 rule could be interpreted, and flexibility is at the heart of it all. However you should put stipulations that best suit your working environment.
Image by Ed Schipul via Flickr.