Like so many in our community, COVID-19 and those early days stay-at-home orders kept us at our computers longer and longer each day. It wasn’t just that the amount of time we could spend “at work,” when work happened at home, had infinitely expanded. We were also glued to our screens as we watched crisis after atrocity after tragedy unfold on social media, in the news, and in conversation with friends, family, community members, and colleagues.
It was in these early days that our Founder and CEO made a crucial call: we would close our offices for a few days to give us all an opportunity to spend time away from work and in a way that we could encourage each other to do so as well. I remember spending those first few days off outdoors as much as possible, literally grounding myself and observing the obvious fact of nature’s life cycles. When I sat down at my desk a few days later, I was able to remind myself, for better or worse, this time too, shall pass. And then I got back to it.
The benefits of the break were immediately and widely felt. We were able to spend much needed time resting and so staved off collective burnout. We came back to our virtual office space rested and ready to go above and beyond for our clients, even in the midst of a global pandemic and a global reckoning for racial justice.
In the time since, studies and stories have proliferated on the benefits of taking time off, limiting working hours, and flexible working schedules, not only for individual employees but also for the productivity and effectiveness of the organization. I like to think that Bilen was an influencer in this space, modeling what it looks like to take care of your team during a crisis, and how that actually helps, not harms, a business’s bottom line. As she says, “rest is not weakness.”
So, at Change Consulting, we continue to close the office for a few days each quarter. With this time, we have gone on vacation, yes, but we have also taken care of family members, picked up dry cleaning, scheduled medical procedures, spent time at home, spent time outside, and, crucially, spent time doing nothing. It is a luxury and we hope it is an inspiration to do what you can to take time for yourselves, give time to your employees and team members, and to use that time however you see fit.
Change Consulting will be closed from June 1 through June 6, 2023. If you reach out to us during this time, we will be sure to get back to you when we are back at our desks on June 7, rested and ready to take on the next challenge.