Europeans know that there are a lot better things to do in the summer than work. But apparently, Americans haven’t gotten the message. Instead we perpetually forfeit our vacations out of fear that we’ll be so far buried under when we return, we’ll never find our way out.
The summer season is the perfect time to reconnect with our families and to renew our own energy if we’re able to take advantage of it. Sadly, in a recent work-life study by Ernst and Young, millennial managers reported that “finding time for me,” “getting enough sleep,” and “managing personal and professional life” were their three greatest challenges. And while the old-fashioned family vacation can be a great way to tackle these issues, enabling you to successfully make time for downtime – sometimes stepping fully away from your work is unrealistic.
Can Virtual Meetings Be A Tolerable Middle Ground?
A client of mine owns a beautiful cabin in the Berkshires where her family spends most of their summer. I worked on a project with her for almost two months (June and July!) before I realized she spends every other week working lakeside.
During our many virtual meetings, there were no barking noises, dishwasher sounds, or accidental child interruptions. As far as I could tell, she was in an office conducting business as usual. Little did I know that she had constructed a summer routine of working from 6am to 2pm while the kids were at a day camp. She then spent the afternoons hiking, swimming, enjoying the summer and making a lifetime of memories with her family.
When I marveled at how lucky she was, she told me that luck had nothing to do with it. “In fact,” she said “I have proven that I get more accomplished working from the lake than I do from the office. I’m just as available to my team and because I’m not surrounded by distractions, I am much more focused and creative.”
Once she said it, it made perfect sense. One of the most elusive resources in today’s organizations is the time to think and plan and do focused work. Offices are a hotbed of distraction, especially those that have transitioned to an open floor plan. Workers find that their days just get away from them, consumed by constant interruptions.