You can take a day off, but e-mail and mobile devices mean you’re still at the beck and call of all the people back at the office – unless the office is closed.
With anywhere/anytime access and the growing integration of smartphones and tablets into employees’ lives, it’s growing harder for them to find time that’s truly their own. Rare is the person who can’t recall a time when they spent more of a day off working than actually being off.
One way to help prevent this is to simply close the office. That way, no one in the mothership is tempted to reach out to employees who are taking a day off – and those on vacation have no reason to check in for fear that they’ve missed something.
Many of our 2015 Best Firms to Work For make a point of closing their office at various times, particularly right before holidays or after major deadlines. At Williams Benator & Libby, a Best Firm to Work For in Atlanta, the firm has summer hours on Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor Day: “The office closes early so associates can begin their weekend a bit early,” they report. And one of the things the 38 employees of Auburn, Ala.-based Machen McChesney like best is that it closes at noon on Fridays.
San Antonio’s ATKG goes one step further: On “Skip Days,” the firm’s 26 employees close the office and go out to do something fun, like ziplining or seeing a movie.
But our favorite example of closing your office to make sure people really make the most of their time off comes from Gemco, a Best Firm to Work For with 19 employees in Coral Gables, Fla., which closes its office for the last two weeks in December.
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