The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

You Only Rest When We All Rest …

Over the Christmas period – our first in NZ – we had 3 weeks off.

When I say ‘we’, I mean the vast majority of the entire country had 3 weeks off.

Some even more.

This was a revelation to me.

As an adult – or at least my version of being an adult – I’d never had more than 10 days off at Christmas and that only happened because Christmas/New Years fell on convenient days so it was worth using some of my annual holidays for it.

And it was when I returned to work this time that I realised how much this 3 week break had positively affected me.

Now you could argue anyone would feel that way after that length of break, but I felt very emotionally scarred from a very traumatic December that included the loss of a dear friend, an unexpected operation for Otis and an unexpected hospital visit for me – so to come back feeling refreshed and relaxed was somewhat of a surprise.

And then I realised why this had happened.

Because it wasn’t just me who had enjoyed this break, but the whole country.

An entire nation who deeply value, respect and treasure this holiday.

And because of this, there were no emails … no last minute requests … no urgent presentations.

In fact, there were no interaction whatsoever.

And it was that ‘blanket break’ that made all the difference.

Because when no one is worried about receiving an emergency request or being left behind because everyone is at work while they’re on holiday, they can properly relax.

OK, so it helps its summer … but the universal freedom from worrying about work means everyone relaxes and replenishes.

Hell, we even made a joke about it by creating a holiday gift that was a personalised restraining order for our clients … a demand for them to not contact anyone from Colenso for a period of 21 days.

And while it was all done with tongue very firmly in-cheek, the benefit of following it was real.

Because truly rested clients and colleagues are better clients and colleagues … emotionally, physically and mentally.

In many ways, the most effective way to drive quality, efficiency and happiness is to enforce mass escape.

Not team bonding days.
Not project sprints.
No bullshit claims of unlimited holidays.
But a break.
A significant, mass, vacation that’s treated by all as sacrosanct.

Of course nations in Europe have been doing this sort of thing for decades …

And while many in the UK and US tend to look down on them as if they’re an act of weakness, they’re missing the point.

Because life isn’t simply about what you have, but how you live.

20 Comments so far
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how do you separate the 3 weeks over christmas with the 45 fucking weeks of holiday you have the rest of the year?

Comment by andy@cynic

Will there be a better comment on this blog tonight? I don’t think so.

Comment by DH

Yeah … yeah …

Comment by Rob

A 3 week national holiday sounds crazy. You land on your feet more than a cat.

Comment by DH

The wine gift is great by the way.

Comment by DH

Thanks mate, we were quite keen on it. Though no one made a Coke Zero version for me and they DEFINITELY wanted me to leave them alone for 3 weeks.

Comment by Rob

Coke Zero? What happened to DC, ice and no lemon?

Agency gift is great. So good to see something made by the agency rather than bought off the shelf.

Comment by Bazza

I know … I’ve ‘evolved’.

Comment by Rob

In micro degrees.

Comment by Bazza

stop being fucking generous.

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s very good.

Comment by George

They used to have two weeks but Jacinda figured that would be insufficient for yourcolleagues. Hence three weeks.

Comment by John


Comment by Bazza

I appreciate with an unjust war going on, this post is potentially bad taste. As usual, I wrote it weeks ago and so the timing is very unfortunate. I can’t even imagine what the people in the Ukraine are going through because of that evil fuck Putin. So if I can’t give them 3 weeks off, I can donate to help them with help [I gave money to the New Voice of Ukraine] and if anyone else wants to, you can see the many ways you can do it here:

Comment by Rob

Good man Rob.

Comment by George

I always found the attitude corporate America had towards vacation disturbing. It is changing, but when I first arrived, there was a degree of shame associated with wanting a decent length break. Going overseas to visit family was tolerated if you were doing it every couple of years. But eyebrows were definitely raised if you wanted a 2+ week vacation to simply enjoy a 2+ week vacation. It’s changing, but not fast enough.

Comment by George

And then there’s the ‘unlimited vacation day’ scam.

Comment by Rob

I think the booze mentality inside ad agencies is dangerous. But I do like the way you did this. It’s fun but also very smart.

Comment by Pete

That’s so great! I wish we could embrace something like this in the US, but we don’t seem anywhere close to changing. Puritanism is alive and well.

Comment by Read Between the Lyme

Oh yes, I definitely felt that when I lived there. It was very weird for me here. Even though in China I had national holidays that lasted a week a couple of times a year, having basically 3 weeks off was such a collective sense of release that it was quite extraordinary.

Thank you for your comment.

Comment by Rob

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