Working for the one of the Best Places to Work in Denver and the No. 1 place to work in America, according to OUTSIDE Magazine, has its perks, one of them being GroundFloor Media’s generous sabbatical program. After 10 years of employment, employees are encouraged to take one month off to “undertake activities that promote individual rejuvenation and personal benefit.”
For the month of August, I decided to head out my first day to a girl’s weekend birthday celebration, in the wine country of the Palisades in Colorado. I also enjoyed a week of relaxing at home and attending, much missed yoga classes. I then headed out on a 10-day dream trip to Ireland with my husband. For my last week, I took the time to organize and prep for my first week back.
It was an incredible experience to be able to take time for reflection over the course of the month and I wanted to share some of my takeaways that might be helpful no matter where you find yourself in life.
It’s no surprise to those of us who work here that GFM is the No. 1 place to work in America, according to OUTSIDE Magazine. From unlimited “trusted time off” to an annual teambuilding offsite with Outward Bound, not to mention an onsite treadmill desk (my favorite!) and Beer Club every Thursday afternoon, we’re truly lucky to be part of the GFM culture!
Carissa McCabe takes a photo while waiting to cross the second ferry to whale watching in the Bay of Fundy.
That’s why several of our team members have been with 15-year-old GFM for at least 10 years – a milestone that earns employees a four-week, paid sabbatical to take some time off to reflect, rejuvenate and reconnect. In August, I became the fourth GFM team member to enjoy sabbatical and I divided my time between home and two weeks visiting family in Nova Scotia, Canada. Whether you’re lucky enough to have an employer who offers a sabbatical program or whether you’re simply able to slip away from the office for a short vacation, I compiled a few reflections that I hope provide some inspiration to take with you on your trip – or to simply plug into everyday life! Read more after the jump…
When’s the last time you did absolutely nothing? As a working mom, I honestly can’t remember. Life is full, challenging and scheduled.
I recently listened to a TED Radio hour show on Slowing Down that had me nodding my head with each of the talks. And laughing. And sighing. Maybe one or two internal eye rolls. One of the talks was with psychologist Adam Grant says those who slow down – even procrastinate – tend to be more creative, original thinkers. Procrastination allows us to reflect, build and improve on ideas.
Practicing yoga at Villa Gumonca on the island of Brac.
I’ve just had the opportunity to take advantage of GFM’s generous sabbatical policy… After 10 years, employees are encouraged to take one month off to “undertake activities that promote individual rejuvenation and personal benefit.”
I did so by participating in a yoga retreat in Croatia with six Brits and a Norwegian I’d never met before, taking a two-week vacation in Croatia and Italy with my boyfriend, and then spending a week re-acclimating and getting organized at home in Denver. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and as I sat at lunch savoring my last few days off, I jotted down some of the lessons I learned that may prove helpful should you ever find yourself in the position of enjoying a month off.
1. Modifying isn’t cheating
As a former gymnast (AKA perfectionist) I feel the need to be able to bend forward and touch the ground with hands flat and legs straight when I’m practicing yoga. Thanks to a hamstring issue, I’m not currently able to, which has been driving me crazy. On this yoga retreat, our instructor encouraged me to bend my knees deeply in forward bend. Doing so not only enabled me to put my hands flat on the ground without pain, it also produced an amazing stretch that felt great. My preconceived notions of what “success” looked like in that pose and the expectations known only to me (no one else was watching to make sure I kept my legs straight) had been holding me back from true success.
Spring has only just sprung, but thanks to school-based Spring Breaks and summer rapidly approaching, we’ve begun logging a lot of vacation requests at GFM. Already we’ve had team members travel as far as Hawaii and Florida and points between with summer trips planned as far reaching as Europe and the Galapagos Islands.
Planning For Vacation Isn’t Always Easy
There’s no doubt about it, planning vacation among a small and close-knit team can be challenging. We have to balance teams to ensure that no client is left without a contact, but also ensure that team members – both those on vacation and those holding down the fort – feel supported. Most important, however, is that everyone eventually has a chance to get away. Read more after the jump…
There are a lot of tips and best practices for increasing workplace productivity. It is something no business, of any size, can ignore. Throughout my 20+-year career in communications, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. As an agency partner, I have also played in house communications counsel roles and gained an insider’s view of different management styles and their impacts on workplace productivity. For me, the biggest takeaway from being in house is when leadership begins to focus on individual success rather than collaboration to hit their organizational goals the team suffers and productivity ceases.