The last days at work before summer vacation tend to be a bit frustrating. At least at my office – just like in all the offices where I’ve worked before. As Björk sings, it’s oh sooo quiet. After juhannus, the Finnish Midsummer I talked about in my earlier post, Helsinki becomes a desert city. The little email you receive consists of out of office notifications – or emails from abroad. No wonder, as 38% of Finns take their holidays in July.
I’m an exception as this year I’ll start my holiday later. So also next week I’ll sit almost alone in the office while the sun (so rare in Finland) is nicely shining outside and my Facebook newsfeed is filled with status updates describing all the wonderful things you can do on your vacation.
Anyway, I’m not bitter as my holiday will start soon enough. But as these days I’ve practically nothing to do and too much time to think, I’ve been wondering how much work capacity is being lost during these lazy and unproductive weeks before holidays? Either the employees’ mind is somewhere far away or they just don’t have nothing to do – except of trying to make the time go fast.
Of course many people like it that way, as you can do things you wouldn’t have time to do otherwise; archiving, reading work-related articles, thinking etc. For me this doesn’t really work. First, I should have drafted a To Do list earlier – now I’ve forgotten all that stuff I said I would do “when I’d have time”.
Yesterday I met some friends who are in a very similar situation: still at work but not really doing anything. Those who can, decide not to spend the last days before holidays at the office but “working” from home, cafe, bar, park, beach… It sounds like fun but I guess it’s just about making the time a bit more tolerable. If I have to sit 8 hours in the office surfing the Internet, staring at the wall or reading random reports one can’t avoid thinking why, if I’m able to complete all the tasks in 2-3 hours?
The thing is that me and my friends really want to do something – if in any case we have to work. Most of my friends are talented and ambitious young people who have the capacity and urge to achieve things and stay active – otherwise you just get frustrated. At least I notice a clear correlation between my work motivation and things to do – less things to do = less motivation and efficiency.
Luckily we found a kind of a solution with my friends. Instead of spending the days alone and frustrated it’s better to join forces and create synergies! So we agreed to meet up in a cafe or a park, depending on the weather, and work together. This way we can enjoy the summer, help each other with our tasks (as we mostly work in similar fields), share experiences – and have fun while working! I’m convinced it’ll be as efficient a day as any – even more so.
All in all, my opinion is that in any creative workplace the employees should be given the freedom to work wherever they want to and feel comfortable in -when it’s possible. Why? I totally agree with Jason Fried on TedTalks asking “Why work Doesn’t Happen at Work?” These ideas should be considered in every office…