SubMonthly #5 - How to disconnect completely

By The Subvisual TeamOn June 23, 2021

Summer is officially here and with it come longer days, warmer weather and overall more things to do. Summer is always a good time to take some days off, but this year this has become more important than ever. Why so?

This past year has been difficult for a lot of people everywhere due to obvious reasons. We've never spent more time at home, but at the same time, we've never been this mentally drained. In fact, the New York Times wrote a very interesting article about the way most of us are feeling, naming this lack of motivation and focus — languishing. Resting properly is sometimes underrated by many and being stuck at home led to people over-working for some months.

Now that things are slowly getting back to normal and the world is opening up again, we decided to take action by implementing 4 day weeks in July and August.

We are very lucky to have a pretty relaxed work environment, without strict schedules and where everyone can take days as needed, however this has been a very difficult year for our mental health, so we knew we had to do better.

To make this decision, we first looked inwards. We realised that many of us were feeling tired and discussed how we could make this better for everyone. We brainstormed different possible measures and decided that this was the one that suited us the best. Afterwards, we took this to our partners and clients to make sure they were onboard and knew that we would be off on Fridays.

During these two months, our team will be able to rest and disconnect from work for an extra day every week, hopefully allowing us to gain back some of the time we've lost during 2020 and 2021.

retreat

What to do when you're supposed to be doing nothing

Now that we'll have an extra day to rest and that most of our team will be going on vacation, we are thinking of things to do and tips that may help you unwind completely. Here's some of the things we came up to that you can also try:

  • Take in the sun: For Pedro nothing says resting like spending a day in the sun drinking a nice cocktail. What's your drink of choice?
  • Avoid busy places: If you value peace and quiet like Miguel, staying away from overly popular places can be helpful.
  • Explore Nature: Some of us, like Mirha for example, are planning on going out to nature and enjoying it as much as possible. How about going surfing or hiking?
  • Stay away from technology: Alex will try to avoid the urge to be online all the time and take in his surroundings. Would you be down for leaving your phone at home for a day?
  • Create memories: Laura will be taking this time to be more present in the moment and creating memories. You can try to do the same and be mindful of your time.
  • Read, watch & listen: some of our team's recommendations for books, shows and podcasts include The Complete Persepolis, The Foundation Trilogy, V for Vendetta and Dune.

Vacation Checklist

Lastly, we know how stressful going away can be, so we wrote down some steps that can help you feel assured that everything will run smoothly in your absence.

  • Appoint a person of contact: let the team know who they can talk to if they need something that is usually taken care of by you;
  • Organize your tasks: is there any work that must be done before you head out? Try doing these tasks before leaving. If you don't have enough time:

    • can those tasks wait until you come back? Don't stress about them, you'll tackle those when your back;
    • these tasks cannot wait or be postponed? Write a to-do list and the needed info to complete them so your team knows what needs to be done;
  • Setup email on vacation mode: configure your email to notify those who contact you that you're on vacation. This will not only give you peace of mind, as it will also provide your contacts with the information that you may take longer to reply, or who to contact if it's an urgent matter;
  • Turn-off work notifications: avoid the urge of checking your work email and chat by turning all notifications off;

The most important step though is to make sure you book your days-off without feeling guilty. Sure, there will always be something to be done, a deadline to meet and extra tasks that you could be doing, but taking time for yourself is just as important.

Now that we have our time-off well-organised, it's time to get back to work and get ready for this year's Summer Camp.

Summer Campers will form a team and build a product together to solve a pre-defined problem. If you're looking into a career in programming, design or product management, this is the perfect opportunity to get a taste of what it's like to work on a team and build a product from scratch.

We wish you a great rest and we'll be back soon with another edition of Submonthly.

PS: We're hiring! If you're interested or you know someone who might be, check out our career opportunities here.