You can see it in people's faces now. Perhaps you've seen it too. Even on a crappy video connection, you can tell. People are getting tired and stressed and they need a break and they don't know when it's coming.
Yet taking any personal leave during a pandemic lockdown is a weird concept because when you're working from home it's hard to find the physical distance from your work. Forcing people to book 'vacation' could increase anxiety rather than ease it
Properly switching off has been proven to be really important, mentally and physically. But as we all know, it is hard to do.
So, we at ID Comms had an idea.
Remember the feeling of that magical week each December, between Christmas and New Year, when you can really forget about work?
It’s proper silence. It’s a nourishing feeling because you know that no one else is working that week, so there is no chance you have missed something important.
There’s no need to think about how you could be contributing. No emails to scroll through ‘just in case’. There is nothing to miss, so there is nothing to worry about.
It’s all about ‘Jomo’ – the joy of missing out.
I think we need to have that feeling right now, more than ever.
Welcome to ‘Jomo Week’
So, between 10-17 April, ID Comms will be implementing a Jomo Week so we can all take a restorative break together.
We want to give the entire ID Comms team the option of not working the whole week and we will encourage them to step away as much as they can. This will be especially welcomed by parents of young children, whose kids will likely will be on (home) school breaks.
Any pre-scheduled client meetings or deliverables will, of course, be maintained and project timelines stay intact. But all internal meetings will be rescheduled, and any new external meetings have been scheduled for adjacent weeks where possible.
We have worked hard to communicate clearly and make sure everyone understands the reasons for this important initiative. We sent the news to our clients, crossing our fingers that they would understand that these unconventional times call for unconventional measures.
I was worried they might find the idea a bit frivolous and probably inconvenient. But here are some of the comments I received:
"Really cool idea – a nice and positive message."
"I would love to have a Jomo Week right now, not sure how to sell this to our chief financial officer at the moment..."
"Such a great practice that you guys do this. Would love if we did one of these too."
"Impressive initiative, and I agree with all the great reasons stated for the importance of it right now. I will dare and share with my management – hope you don’t mind?"
"I love this. Knowing that you’ll be bombarded by emails and pings while staycationing isn’t too appealing, so I think it’s great that you’re all taking time together"
Create your own?
We are fortunate. For many years our company has been a very agile, cloud-based business, so we adapt easily to remote working across time zones. We use some clever collaboration tools, and everyone uses video all the time.
Most importantly, we know that people's time is a valuable commodity and we trust each other to use it in the best ways.
During Jomo Week we will organize a few fun company things we can do. These will be entirely optional, but will keep those who want to join in connected.
This is not enforced isolation. If we all switch off at the same time, we are all going to feel a lot better and be an even stronger team together.
I encourage all of you to consider creating a Jomo Week at your companies too if possible. Join us, if you can – but please, keep your distance.
Tom Denford is the co-founder and US chief executive of ID Comms. This piece was originally published on LinkedIn.