Four days per week is interesting. How about 10 months per year? Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
As a massage therapist who treats people with chronic pain, I need to find balance in my job. I tried taking a two week hiatus initially, but found my clients were significantly worse off and I had to work harder when I returned. So I implemented a week’s vacation every 6 weeks. This worked out much better. But now in my 70’s, I take a week off every 5 weeks. My clients are fine with that, so I get 10 weeks vacation each year and my body gets the downtime it needs to rejuvenate.
There is actually a substantial group of Americans who follow the 10 months work/2 months off schedule: people in the education field. It has its perks such as being with one’s kids during summer or pursing uninterrupted personal/professional interests but also it can mean having to budget finances to regularly cover two months without active paycheck as well as stricter requirements for time off during those 10 months.
Whenever I work with entrepreneurs to reverse engineer their Profit First numbers, after determining their target salary, we then determine how many weeks per year they are going to not work to demonstrate you can achieve the same (or more) by working less and just being intentional about when you work and when you don’t work. I have a simple one year schedule in Excel that shows the year at a glance — including when I am blocked off for vacation or weeks off and away from the business. (My employees plan their own year on their own annual plan template, too)
For business owners who don’t feel or can’t imagine removing themselves from the business to take a four-week vacation, I recommend the book CLOCKWORK by Mike Michalowicz (2022 Revised and Updated version)
P.S. It’s important to give your employees generous PTO and big chunks of at least three weeks in a row off — I find three weeks to be the minimum tipping point to be transformative.
If you are a year round business you need more employees to cover for those off for a month. That is a difficult scheduling challenge.
To bring the issue into something more manageable to consider, think about the challenges to staff a business 7 days a week while making sure staff has two days off each week. Or staff a 24/7 operation with the same objective.
By the last 15 years of my career I had 35 days of personal time each year, allowing me to take a week off each quarter and quite a few long weekends. I made sure my top direct reports were able to effectively manage their areas and work together without my day-to-day influence. That didn’t happen over night. Even then, I would read emails while out just to keep up. That worked because I had an effective leadership team who could also cover their areas with their own teams.
Having said that, what I just described if quite difficult in a manufacturing or 24/7 business model.
Walmart announced its plan to close its final two locations in Portland, Ore., at the end of March following underwhelming financial results, amid speculation that shoplifting spurred the decision. The closures, which will result in nearly 600 employees being laid off, come after a statement by Walmart CEO Doug McMillion in December 2022 noting that record-breaking retail theft had undercut the company’s economic performance of late. (National Review)
Yet the mainstream media and this administration will downplay the massive thievery and destruction of businesses, saying no one is getting hurt. Tell that to the 600 Walmart employees who are now out of work, and the shoppers who needed a low cost shopping option for all of their family’s needs. NO ONE in mainstream media is paying any attention to this.
Actually, Americans have that time off thing now - it’s called retirement !
Europe really does do vacations better than the US. When I lived in Italy, August was the best time to visit the tourist places since no one was there. Rome was really great. Though a downside was not as many restaurants were open either.
As a retired military person and a retired nurse these types of discussions always make me smile. If you weren’t physically at work you were often on call and that was 24/7 for years on end. We were encouraged to take a two week long vacation once a year which I would take full advantage. So many jobs just don’t lend themselves to these types of schedules.