Why We Practice an Annual Summer “Shutdown” for Team Wellbeing
By Christina Greenberg
In 2018, my fellow Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Allison Wyatt, and I decided to close our offices one week a year for what we now call a “summer shutdown.” We created Edgility because we wanted to find a way to help social impact organizations do better by their employees. In doing so, we knew that we also had to have high standards for ourselves and how we operate. That year, we realized we needed to be more intentional about giving our hard-working team members a break. After some discussion, we decided to honor their work and emphasize team wellbeing by implementing an annual shut-down week. We would close the office completely so that everyone was out of the office at the same time and felt they could completely unplug guilt-free without having to use any of their personal vacation time.
In recent years and in light of the pandemic, many companies have adopted this annual practice. Companies such as Nike, LinkedIn, Bumble, Hootsuite, and Mozilla have all opted to close their offices for a week and offer a break to their employees on top of regular holidays and PTO. As a Co-Founder and Managing Partner, I know that it may seem like a large ask to forgo “productivity” for a week, but I know that prioritizing my team’s mental health is much more valuable.
Since 2018, we’ve seen a lot of change, and though we’ve all learned to adapt, one of the main challenges we’ve seen over and over again is burnout. We know that our team puts in a lot of work for our clients, but our client facing work means that we can’t always manage our schedules in a stress-free way. We’re supporting our employees’ mental health and workloads by aligning our core values with our business practices and giving them time off to truly turn their work brains off and rest. We might not have it all figured out, but we at least know that our team appreciates this time.
Leaders, do you offer your team a shut-down week to prioritize team wellbeing? We’d love to hear about your experiences with this practice and other ways you support your staff’s mental health and workload.
This summer, we will be closed for our shutdown week from June 26 to July 4, 2023.