“The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
Steve Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Effective people that care about their work, care about the importance of having a life. At CodeScience, we have an interesting balance to our culture that fosters the belief that smart, engaged, and curious employees who are passionate about doing challenging work should in turn be treated as adults.
This idea is best stated in one of our dozen values (yes, we have 12) that says we should “Act like an adult; stay curious as a kid”. A symptom of this particular value is CodeScience’s No Vacation Policy. No what?! Yes. That’s correct. No vacation policy. And that doesn’t mean, you never take a vacation - quite the contrary. Instead it means, taking time off is crucial to being effective and we don’t believe that we should dictate what that looks like.
I stumbled upon an article on LinkedIn a few weeks back that addresses the value of disengaging from work from time to time and the art of being disciplined enough to leave the work information alone and trust your team while you are out - I highly recommend the read. I too believe that genuine out-of-office (OOO) messages can have a great impact on an entire organization (not to mention customers). And while it goes against the norm for most companies, CodeScience takes its OOO messages a step further by being quite candid about being unreachable.
Over the years, our Executive team has delivered some of the most interesting, albeit entertaining, OOO messages I have ever had the privilege of reading and I thought it incredibly appropriate to share these culture samplings here:
1.) Brian Walsh, Solution Architect and Partner taking a family vacation over the winter holiday:
I am flying cross country today with my family, which includes a teething 6 month old boy and a 3 year old boy. Shall we place bets on who is having a better day?
If you are desperate to find me right now, I am the guy sitting in 17D with mini liquor bottles scattered about the floor and aisle around me. Not sure if Virgin America will patch your call through, but I guess you can try.
Otherwise, please leave a message after the tone and I will get back to you as soon as possible
2.) Tim Youngblood, CTO & Co-Founder on the Christmas Break:
I'm currently out of the office for the holiday. Sure, I'm supposed to tell you that I'll have limited access to this and that and that my Nexus 5 will be sitting there on a shelf - but that is simply not true. My phone with full email access will be right there by my side the whole time.
On the balance, I've promised others that I would unplug and get away from Skynet™ for a bit and spend some quality time with family and splitting wood, building dragster motors, etc.
I'll just leave it up to you: If you need to reach me in a burning flurry of urgency, please send me an email with *NORESTFORTHEWEARY* in the subject line, asterisks (my favorite character on the keyboard) included. I'll create a filter to raise this to the top of the email heap, and set off a myriad of alarms, bells and whistles, then I'll respond like a coiled spring trap. Otherwise ...
Have a great Festivus!
3.) Mike Witherspoon, CEO and Co-Founder on acquiring a vacation and a client:
We picked up a new client in Australia and I drew the short straw. Not only do I have to suffer through the warm, long days of the southern summer, but I also have to go diving in the Coral Sea and visiting friends for a sun soaked Christmas.
Some days I just hate my job. I predict my crankiness level will prevent me from responding quickly, or at all.
It matters that we stay engaged, but it's arguably equally important that we prioritize being disengaged. It's a great testimony of an organization's culture when this idea is not only believed in, but fully supported from the top down.