Is Taking a Vacation a Sin?

If you rarely take time off from work, will you move up the corporate ladder quicker as an employee? Possibly. But is that your perception of how your boss thinks? Or is it the pressure you put on yourself?
On the other side of the coin, are you an employer who subtly favors employees who never utilize the time provided as a benefit from your company? Or, do you realize the advantages of a break from the office to recharge?

For the Employee

Dedicated employees want to succeed, and if you’re with a strong company, there is internal competition. You shouldn’t always consider that negative because healthy competition is healthy, especially if leadership inspires camaraderie where support among the team is a natural celebration.

Are you the team member who never takes their allotted vacation and even works on holidays when others spend time alone outside of the office or with their family? Does your counterpart take their vacation and come back recharged and doesn’t miss a beat? Does your internal self think that there must be a trick?

Are they:
  • Taking work with them
  • Keeping in touch with the office daily
  • Faking it and then silently freaking out when they return
It’s difficult to fake a lighthearted, recharged mood, so the answer to the above scenarios is most likely NO.
You, too, can be that person. Do you wonder how you can accomplish this if you’re so busy? You can do it with practice and upfront planning.
  • Before submitting your “time-off” request, check with your immediate supervisor to see if they have any conflicts with that proposed time, especially if you’re in a leadership role. If you’ve been with the company a while, you’ll know the ebbs and flows of incoming work, so think about that before approaching them. Of course, if there’s a conflict and your request is related to a family emergency or life event, the decision has to be yours – no guilt involved.
  • Work closely in advance with other team members who will be “carrying the weight” in your absence. Bring them up-to-speed on outstanding items, so the service you provide is seamless.
  • Alert your customers or clients in advance that you’ll be out for a specific period. Give them a heads up to who will be their temporary point person.
The goal is that you feel free to go “do your thing” without worry. And, the benefit to the company is that you’ll come back revived.
And if planned correctly, you won’t have a stack of work on your desk when you return.

For the Employer

How can you help facilitate a non-fear of taking vacation atmosphere? FOSTER IT! When you encourage your employees to take advantage of their time off, you benefit in several ways:
  • Happy Employees – #1 Reason
  • More productive workforce as they know they can be highly effective with the ability to plan a recharge without fear of recourse.
  • A happy team that works together knows if they “cover the fort” for a colleague, they will do the same when they need to take a break.

It’s difficult not to openly push the team to continue moving forward when working in a fast-paced environment. When you walk around with the subtle praise of anyone who bypasses allotted vacation time, you get the reverse reaction and may never know it. If employees fear they will lose their job because they’re “human,” they may be physically present but not fully there mentally. Don’t risk a lack of productivity because you cannot let your team take a break. Remember, it’s easy to look busy with no positive outcome.

How Can You Help?
It’s easy! If you follow some of the suggestions below, you’ll be set up for success and will look like the leader you should be to your team.
  • Encourage vacation and instill the values of advance notice. BUT, understand sometimes circumstances need to be spontaneous as life happens. It’s your job to have systems in place to accommodate last-minute requests.
  • Set up cross-training exercises so that every individual is comfortable leaving for a week, or two, knowing that all is under control. And VERY IMPORTANT if it can be managed, make it so the employee can come back to a clean (or semi-clean) desk. Getting out of the office for a period of time knowing how much work is waiting for them can be incredibly counterproductive.
  • Celebrate people who recharge and if you have the capability or connections, use your resources to offer discounts or advice on destinations that will fit their budget, even if it’s a local “staycation.”
Both employees and employers need to recharge without stress. The experience can be rewarding with proper planning and increase loyalty to the company and its respective teams.

Agile Methodology – Lessons For Any Career Path

As a technology staffing company with many of our founders and leaders who have been in the technology industry for upwards of 20 and 30+ years, we have witnessed first-hand game-changing advancements among technologies, languages, and methodologies.

Agile Methodology was introduced in the early 2000s and REALLY started taking off around ten years ago.

Agile methodology is a project management strategy that uses short development cycle “sprints” to focus on continuous improvement in the development of a product or service. In a nutshell, Agile focuses on 12 fundamental principles and has drastically transformed how development teams operate, giving a stronger focus on the customer and becoming faster and more flexible!

After seeing Agile take the technology industry by storm and its central focus around better productivity and customer satisfaction, leaders across all segments and industries are trying to translate it into their own careers.

Here are just a couple of those critical principles that we feel you should immediately translate into your “Career Methodology.”
ONE: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

Every great company should have their clients/customers top-of-mind when making business decisions, and that should trickle down no differently to an individual contributor level. Agile gave a new level of attention and focus to customer satisfaction, which should easily translate into everyone’s daily focus, whether in technology, accounting, manual labor, etc. If your continuous delivery is not already centrally focused on the client/customer — CHANGE IT IMMEDIATELY.

TWO: Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

In technology, Agile has aligned business initiatives with technology delivery like never before! Thanks to integrating business focus and leaders into the design, product owners/business analysts began to play an even more integral role as the liaison within a successful Agile team. This business alignment or overall cross-team collaboration should be applied for any delivery model impacted by multiple parties. The more segmented you are from different business units that affect your delivery, the more subject you are to delays, gaps, and misunderstandings.

THREE: Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

This principle is pretty self-explanatory when you consider using your motivated teammates/employees as a centerpiece to whatever you are trying to accomplish. However, this can have an impact in ways that are important to understand. If you are a leader in any segment, start building projects and initiatives around your most motivated employees. This leadership style gives them an extra sense of ownership and accountability for the delivery, and when communicated the right way — WATCH WHAT HAPPENS!

FOUR: Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

Paul J. Meyer once said, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

I have to think that the creators of Agile Methodology took a page out of this iconic motivators book. This principle is crucial for Agile’s success and something everyone should follow while performing their daily tasks. People have heard for years, “Do it right the first time.” Set your goals high, and ALWAYS shoot for excellence!

FIVE: The team reflects on becoming more effective at regular intervals, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

As part of this Agile Methodology, you have something call CI/CD. I like to think the CI has two meanings, Continuous integration, and Continuous Improvement. Agile Methodology trains all parties involved to not wait until the final delivery to reflect on the success of the project/initiative. In this methodology, regular intervals are created to better gauge the current effectiveness of duties and tasks. This ideation provides an opportunity to be more nimble and make adjustments before advancing further into the project!

Take a daily step back and reflect on your success so you can continually compare your output and effectiveness to your overall goals. That way, you can adjust accordingly to help avoid getting off track in the long run!

For your benefit, we encourage you to look at the 12 Principals of Agile Methodology and choose which ones you can immediately translate into maximizing your daily delivery. Good luck on becoming MORE AGILE as we have in our business!!!