When there is more to life than simply following the job rituals, not everyone is or should be a fan of “the hustle culture.”
This CEO and co-founder of 64 Million Artists, Jo Hunter, yearly permits all of her staff to take the whole month of August off. And paid leaves on top of that. Despite not working for the entire month of August each year, all employees get paid in full.
During the pandemic, Jo Hunter’s business used a four-day workweek and remote working, but as the world recovered from it and the need for our creativity workshops grew, the CEO claimed she realised her employees were burned out.
“When we got back to the office last September we were better at making decisions. The break meant we returned with clarity and ambition, allowing us to come up with more innovative ideas,” Hunter told Business Insider.
“When you treat people well and allow them to follow what’s important to them, they’ll do good work. From the beginning, I wanted to embed those values in my own company,” the CEO said.
“I’d read Brene Brown’s essay about her company giving everyone four weeks off in August and decided to follow suit,” CEO Hunter made the statement in reference to Casandra Brené Brown, a renowned author, educator, and podcast host from the United States.
“No emails on phones or computers. Staff would still get paid, but would not work for a whole month.” Added the CEO.
The company’s employee contracts now permanently include a month off (August) with full compensation. The only adjustment they have made is to cut the number of annual vacation days from 25 to 20 (excluding August). August continues to be a full paid leave month for all employees each year.
“There weren’t any significant financial downsides because we work with schools, universities, and community services that slow down in the summer,” CEO Hunter asserted. “There is never much public-facing work for us in August – so not working felt pretty easy. There’s no way we could do this during January for example, that is our busiest season.”
When questioned about if the choice to take yearly, month-long breaks has increased the company’s popularity with job seekers, she added “It’s definitely a pull for employees. We tend to get between 150 and 300 applications when we post a new opening.”
In response to a question regarding the outcomes of this novel strategy, Hunter stated, “The company has grown significantly since last August. We’ve hired four new people and have started some exciting programs. We are expecting to increase our turnover by about 50% this year.”
“The biggest pushback we get is that this break only works for us because we are a small company and August is a quiet month. But closing for a few weeks is common in companies across Finland, France, Spain, and many other countries.” Hunter explained to Business Insider the fallout from industries over her methodology, which questioned conventional wisdom.
“What I’ve discovered about taking August off as a business owner is not to shut down the possibility of doing something that isn’t the norm. Giving people more freedom, not less, produces better ideas and more productive employees.” Hunter said in the interview.
64 Million Artists supports workers in businesses, schools, and other organisations in rediscovering their creativity.
All things considered, there are instances when it’s vital to accelerate and convey a sense of urgency, but not as the function’s default mode. Too many unavoidable mistakes, missed details, and distorted viewpoints are the unforeseen consequences of the trending ‘hustle culture’.
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