Shop closed: On vacation

As summer is winding down, many families are planning last-minute vacations or counting down days to a planned getaway. The working members of those families are likely wrapping up projects and tasks at their jobs, and I imagine the weeks leading up to their vacations are haunted by a barrage of “out of office” messages from their co-workers, whose responses they need to finish said task.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone’s vacations were synchronized so that everyone was in the office at once? In some countries, this isn’t a dream: It’s reality. As outlined in a recent column for the Washington Post, in many countries there is consensus as to which month everyone goes on vacation. It’s a fascinating read.

The article argues:

“Although we may not have the mandatory vacation laws that allow other countries the luxury of a month-long work detox, if we could at least all agree to close up shop for a small portion of August, it would mean more efficient work when we’re in the office, and more relaxing vacations when we’re out.”

Closing our businesses for even a small portion in the summer isn’t plausible for our industry, particularly when many of our businesses depend so heavily on that seasonality. But if other industries agreed on a universal vacation period in the summer and didn’t feel obligated to get work done (as the column also notes that 61 percent of respondents in a 2013 Harris Interactive survey said they planned to work during their summer vacation), it would likely lead to happier, more fulfilling vacations. More time to spend with family and enjoying leisurely activities. More time on the water, we would hope.

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