One week vacations are not vacations. They are breaks. They are wonderful, but rarely do we actually “vacate”.
Two weeks is the way to go. To come back revived. To come back creative.
So if starting from scratch, is there a vacation policy that would enable, no force, all employees to take 2-week breaks (yes, plural) throughout the year and at the same time make the company more productive?
Maybe something like…
3 2-Week breaks: 1 in April (Spring Break), 1 in August (Summer) and 1 in December (Holidays)
Everyone in the company must take the identical time.
The thesis here is that vacations do not hurt a companies productivity, everyone taking vacations at different times hurt a companies productivity.
Say there are two identical projects, 4 members each, each contributing 25%.
Project A – Conducted under the 1-week-max American standard vacation
A team member takes vacation. You’d think that the project would be losing 25% movement per day. But in reality the other 3 team members are relying on her to make her decisions. If she does not, the other 3 members need to rebalance, thus lowering the entire team’s (and their projects) productivity. Losing one member slows you down 50%.
Project B – Conducted under Vacation 2.0
First off, everyone is there all the time (unless sick). That means simpler scheduling plus the entire company’s work is focused towards a single point in time, 3 times a year.
You would lose 100% productivity for 6 weeks per year but you would have a guaranteed 100% productivity 46 weeks of the year. Compare that with the constant stifle from Project A.
The breaks would be a rallying point. Something that people are excited about, look forward to and share experiences from.
And lastly, and the point of this whole thought experiment, every person would get the downtime that us humans require.
A rested staff. A healthy staff. A creative staff. A focused staff. A productive staff.