Time off is a luxury for many of us. Not because we don’t get vacation days, but because we don’t take them. According to Project: Time Off, Americans left over 700 million vacation days on the table last year. In 2017, over 50% ended the year with unused vacation days.

This year the 4th of July falls on a Wednesday. For U.S. employees, many are wondering how do I take time off to celebrate this holiday with friends and family in the middle of the work week? Having a Wednesday off is great. But having a more concentrated break is more beneficial to your mind, body, and psyche.

Here at exaqueo, we practice what we preach. The week of 4th of July is one of our two annual week-long company shutdowns we fondly call #exaqueoPTO. The other is the week from Christmas to New Year’s. There is no expectation to be working because our office is closed. Our clients are fully aware and we can truly unplug from work. Two weeks a year when our offices are closed, employees aren’t working and aren’t expected to check email. Crazy, I know. But is it really?

We’re just not good at taking vacation time. Project: Time Off found that since the late 1970s, it’s been a downward trend. But taking time off and vacation is how we ensure we stay at the top of our game. It’s how we recharge and spend time with our families, who are a big reason we all come to work each day. There are plenty of reports and research that show workers, particularly in the U.S., don’t take enough time off and the negative impact that has on one’s mental, physical, and emotional health. It’s part of the reason I founded exaqueo as a fully virtual company, to provide some of that flexibility to take help our team take a break when we need it most.

Recently, I held a call with a prospective client who wanted to have a meeting during our #exaqueoPTO. I shared with him our time off strategy and why it’s a part of our culture. But I didn’t want to lose the business so I offered to meet him while on PTO and was surprised to hear his reaction. He said, “No, let’s schedule the call for the following week, I think it’s important I respect your culture.” I love that.

This is our culture and how we work. We offer flexibility, we own our balance, and we mean it. If your culture is promising employees certain aspects, are you creating the experiences that support it? How are you respecting your culture?

If you liked this post, you should check out this one: I'm Out of the Office

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