I’ll never say no to a long weekend! In August, the Stories Inc. co-founders Scott and Lauryn gave our team the four Fridays off between August 10 and August 31.
Check out Scott’s blog post, Are Summer Fridays Good for Business and Employer Brand?
Lauryn and Scott told the Stories Inc. team they had a “company announcement” and shared the exciting news that we’d have Summer Fridays in August. I appreciated how at a small organization like Stories Inc., announcements and changes can be instantaneous and don’t require bureaucratic hurdles to jump through.
One Zen Summer Friday…
During one Summer Friday this August, I attended a yoga retreat in Davis, West Virginia. The weekend was filled with yoga, hiking, visiting a honeybee farm, swimming at a watering hole, and eating delicious organic foods. We met locals who invited us into their close-knit community.
In my normal life, I walk fast, talk fast, think fast, write fast, and yes, at times I even rush to get to yoga. But in Davis, I slowed down (and not just during savasana!).
I turned off my phone when I arrived on Thursday evening and didn’t touch it again until I was back in the car on Sunday. There was no better way to unwind and feel present than spending a long weekend away from technology.
Without text messages, deadlines, obligations, or TV, I moved at a slower pace and embraced nature and new friends. I felt free to live in the moment–whether it was roasting the perfect s’more (it takes time!), trying to quiet my mind during downward facing dog, or sampling Healthberry Farm’s honey.
When I went on the retreat, I had just wrapped up a major project at work. We created a 100-page book for an industry-leading restaurant chain that celebrates the company’s 40th anniversary, using employee stories as a way to showcase their company history and culture. The days before the retreat were hectic (yet still fun!). I loved working on the book, and was also ready to unwind. Attending the yoga retreat was a perfect break between closing out that project and getting ready to launch into the next one.
I tried to carry the calm I enjoyed on the retreat with me when I returned back to DC. When I walked into work on Monday after the retreat, I felt ready to embrace my next project for a pharmaceuticals company with renewed energy and a fresh perspective. The Summer Friday allowed me a break from work, only to return to perform my best. This is one personal example of what Scott referenced: happy, fulfilled teams outperform unhappy, unfulfilled teams.
The benefit… of better benefits
Through this Summer Friday experiment, I felt as appreciative as ever to work at Stories Inc. I know that the team cares about my well-being and my life and passions outside of work. Not only did they offer the flexibility so that I could attend, but the team was excited for me and curious to hear about the weekend. I know that we truly practice what we preach in terms of being a great place to work with an excellent team.
The more companies value and trust their people, the more they are rewarded with loyal, happy, and productive employees. Progressive companies value flexibility and try innovative ways to reward their teams. This in turn makes for compelling employer branding content. Because I can say more than “Stories Inc. cares about me as a person,”
I can prove it through the story of my yoga retreat. In my opinion, Summer Fridays are good for business, good for employer brand..and yes, even good for my yoga practice!