Take Two Weeks: There Will Always Be Work
Maryt L. Fredrickson, Ninth Judicial District Court Jackson, Wyoming
I recently heard a colleague tell a new colleague, “There will always be work. You can work nights and weekends if you want to. But that won’t finish the work. There will still be more work. So take a vacation. Put it on the calendar a year in advance if you have to, and then guard that time.”
I have ample colleagues who refer to vacations as “just work with a different view.” I hear their stories of working by laptop on the deck of their hotel room while their families go out to play. I see attorneys appearing by video or telephone from hotel rooms in what sound like exotic venues, but…they are still working from a hotel room.
Other colleagues, however, really have the time of thing down to an art. I see their out of office emails showing two weeks or more out of the office. After they return, I hear their reports of not checking email at all or only checking emails once a day while on vacation. I have heard their stories of planning out who in their office will do what at work while they are away. I listen to tales of their efforts to clearly communicate with their clients about timeframes for new work that arrives approaching vacation time.
A Culture of No Vacations and Working Vacations
Te benefits of time of include higher productivity, more employee retention, stronger workplace morale, and health benefits. Te standard vacation period in the United States tends to be about two weeks per year. And yet recent studies show that as little as 25 percent of Americans take their entire vacations every year, and as many as 42% of Americans use no vacation days at all. Another study showed that 61 percent of people on vacation work while on vacation.
By contrast, in Australia, the standard entitlement is four weeks per year, with increases depending on length of employment with a particular employer. Many European countries provide four weeks or more of vacation leave each year, in addition to paid holidays. A Canadian bar journal reported that Canadian...