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We don’t have to tell people that it’s been a hard year.
We’ve all been locked inside, unable to leave our local areas to explore the world around us. Tessians haven’t been able to see their families and friends IRL, and relationships have had to be maintained on zoom.
It’s tough, and it’s definitely weighing on all of us.
But, this summer we want to change that and hopefully give our Tessians the chance to make up for lost time. To spend time with loved ones, to take care of themselves, and (maybe, just maybe!) even board a plane again.
We’ve been running what we’ve deemed “Refreshian Day” over the last year. This is a day we all take each quarter, to all be offline together, and to focus purely on taking care of ourselves.
Want to learn more? Check out this blog: Why Shutting Down Tessian Was The Best Decision We Ever Made.
With the success of these days, we’re introducing something new: Refreshian Summer.
So, what exactly is Refreshian Summer?
Every Friday in July and August will be a half day for Tessians – meaning we will all log off around lunchtime.
No annual leave needs to be logged to take these afternoons off, it’s just time for all Tessians to spend doing whatever will bring them joy or relaxation.
This seems like a lot of time off….why are we doing this?
First, we think it’s simply the right thing to do. Research has shown that in countries like the US and UK (where most Tessians are based), people are working 2 – 3 hours more per day.
The line between our personal and professional lives are blurry and everyone seems to always be online. That means there’s never a delay between emails. It’s a perpetual cycle of quick responses, and persistent, intense pace. And, because people aren’t taking time off, there’s no real “break”.
While we don’t expect the pace to change (hypergrowth will always be demanding, and we like it that way!), we can change the way that we support our people.
We’ve found that on Refreshian Day, people genuinely manage to switch off, without worrying about what’s going on in their absence, or the number of emails that are coming through (because there aren’t any!).
We want to create this feeling all summer. After what we’ve all been through, we really need to be able to take advantage of the sunniest days, in whatever way we like, and truly relax.
Plus, there’s some pretty cool research on how having something to look forward to bolsters our ability to cope with stress – we could all use a little of that right now!
How are we going to make this work?
We appreciate that many of you will be thinking “How on earth are you going to get all your employees to reduce their working time by 10%?” or,“How are you going to manage this across multiple timezones, since you’re losing daily crossover time?”
We get you, and we hear you.
But, we’re encouraging our team to remember that this is temporary. And we think that for a temporary period it’s possible to adapt and reduce our working time just one day per week, and to workout timezone issues.
We don’t believe in mandating an approach (autonomy = where the best ideas come from), and trust all Tessians to work with their team and manager to agree ways of working during this time.
But, we’ve come up with some broad suggestions on how people might work together to reduce time in meetings this summer.
Here’s a look at some of these:
- Manage how you will communicate with team members in earlier/later time zones that you would normally have a Friday crossover with – e.g. Can you use asynchronous communication instead? Recording a short video clip is easy to do on Zoom and is a great way to communicate complex ideas.
- We ask that every team scrutinize their recurring meeting and determine where you can temporarily reduce the number of meetings. For example:
- Do you need to have a stand-up every day? Would 3 days per week suffice instead?
- Can you move your global wrap-ups to a Thursday afternoon (UK)/morning (US) instead?
- Which 1 to 1s or team meetings can you reduce from weekly to bi-weekly, or can you shorten the duration?
- Does the idea of Sync & Maker hours work in your team and would it be worth trying out to increase efficiency?
- Should you block out Friday mornings on your calendar for “No Meetings” so that people have time to plan before the weekend?
- Do you have the right coverage/on-call approach in place if you’re in a customer facing role?
There will be plenty of things we won’t have thought of, which we can’t wait to hear from our team about.
This is an experiment – but one that we’re really excited to try. We will be seeking feedback continually from our team and adjusting where we need to as the summer goes on.
We’ll also be collecting best practices from our teams who have found ways to reduce time spent in meetings (but maintain effectiveness) or communicate asynchronously.
And, we will simply be looking forward some well-earned time off this Refreshian Summer.
Want to learn more about Tessian’s values and culture? You can explore more articles here.