Seasonality of Work
Work has a seasonality that I’ve always found interesting, but is not widely discussed.
In the summer the days are longer, the sun is out, and nature is in full bloom. During these months I find it hard to hunker down indoors for more than a few hours. I want to be outside, moving, traveling, and enjoying nature.
However, during the winter hours the days become shorter, it gets dark early evening, and nature is dormant. During these months I find it enjoyable to stay indoors for longer periods of time either working, reading, and tinkering (granted I have a nice cup of coffee or tea).
I was recently talking with a friend who works in the automotive industry and they work with various suppliers in Europe. He was sharing that during the summer the suppliers go silent for about a month or so as they take time away from work for leisure and travel. It’s more difficult for his team to get things accomplished, but there is a seasonality to the European’s work that they accept. Life and work march on.
I believe this seasonality of work exists in the United States it’s just not widely acknowledged or accepted. Throughout my career I’ve been amazed at how much the corporate America work schedule revolves around the school calendar and kids get 2-3 months off during the summer months. During the summer many workers take time away from work for leisure and to travel with their families. Often taking multiple weeks of vacation time. Progress on projects and initiatives slow down and it’s harder to get things done.
I remember asking one of my old customers how business was over coffee during the summer and him grumbling that they were in the office that day working on a project but he “rather not be working in summer.” I secretly agreed with him.
What’s the point? Am I saying the US should mandate that employees take a month off every summer?
Not necessarily. But more companies and workers could be intentional about how they structure their work schedule throughout the year and explore the seasonality of work; maybe even embrace it! Companies like Basecamp having been doing interesting things around this for years and implement 4 day work weeks during the summer months. Seasonality is one of the main reasons they cite for working this way.
Such an interesting way to structure the work schedule and a unique opportunity to approach leisure and work with a fresh perspective throughout the year.
What ways are you exploring the seasonality of work in your life?
Until next time,