With 2021 in the rearview and 2022 rolling full steam ahead, it’s the time of year that you reflect on the successes and challenges of the past and begin forecasting and setting goals for the future. Well, usually this is the case, but this year I experienced something new that I call “Christmas fatigue” or “seasonal burnout.”
Let’s be honest, the holidays can be stressful no matter what industry you are in. When you run and operate a small graphics business, customers are counting on you and your team to produce the perfect gift. They expect it to be delivered to their loved ones in time for Christmas, no matter how last minute they placed the order. Add COVID-19 to the mix, supply chain issues, shipping delays, and the fact that all your orders have the same Dec. 25 due date, and it only adds to the stress. I turned to my friends and colleagues on the many online engraving forums and found that I was not alone.
Shake holiday burnout with Family Fridays
So, how do you shake off the holiday burnout? Finding out that I was not alone with my feelings pushed me to find a solution to break through and start the new year with a fresh, positive outlook. My team had been working around the clock for the past few months and everyone needed a break and a reset. I decided to implement “Family Fridays,” and shift to a four-day workweek rather than the standard five and close the shop on Fridays. This way, the team could spend three days a week with their families. A three-day weekend every week — sign me up!
For the first time in a long time, my wife and I loaded up in the car with the dog and took off for a long weekend on the coast. As part of our reset, we made an agreement that we would not discuss anything related to work on this trip. That is easier said than done — trust me on this. The weekend away didn’t magically dissolve the burnout fog but it was certainly a giant leap in the right direction. Fresh coastal air, frisbee in the sand, and an ocean sunset was a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of Christmas. We returned refreshed from our trip and ready to strategize and plan for the next year.
After just a handful of Family Fridays, I have noticed a big change — not only in my attitude but in the overall vibe of my team. There is a positive hum in the shop; everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and put in the work Monday through Thursday knowing that they have three days to play hard on the weekend. They are excited to share what they did and what is coming up for the next weekend’s adventure. I plan on continuing Family Fridays going forward and invite you to take a chance and take a well-deserved break — you earned it!
Here’s to looking forward to a positive and fulfilling 2022!