Monday, September 25, 2006

The Importance Of Vacation at Yahoo

Kevin Delaney has an interesting article in the WSJ this morning regarding Yahoo requiring it's employees to take off the week between Christmas and New Years. As mentioned in the article this has interesting timing considering their comments regarding a slow down in some online advertising verticals.

Yahoo management mentions this is "guilt-free time off."

While at I loved that week between Christmas and New Years. It was my catch-up week since fourth quarter was always extra busy for sales which in turn meant it was extra extra busy for operations. It allowed me to get ready and recharge for the onslaught of first quarter.

Personally I'm not a big fan of mandatory vacations. I'd much rather have people take vacation throughout the year. Vacation is a great way to help re-prioritize and empower your employees.
If you're a manager it forces your direct reports to step-up. It also allows you to reevaluate what you can delegate. Something you always do, something you used to cherish doing, now you don't. It might be something a direct really will be fired up to do, or improve on how you do it. Different perspective. Maybe you stop doing something that you realize nobody finds any value in?

If you're on the front lines it forces your peers to step-up. Is there a good coverage plan? Are your department's internal processes designed well to allow for redundancy? How much extra capacity is in your operations?

As a manager or front line employee you should strive to ensure every vacation is guilt-free. Managers make sure the machine doesn't stop and fail if you or a direct leaves. Employees if you see that the processes you have break when someone takes time off work with your managers to FIX those problems.

1 comment:

brian said...

I was listening to Sirius Bloomberg radio yesterday and an analyst commented that they were purposely declaring this vacation time to cut costs due to lower than expected ad revenue. That doesn't sound like a good sign for such a seemingly sturdy company. However, (and this is only my opinion) I have always questioned Yahoo's business model. They have a great online brand, however, they don't really have any unique service or technology, they weren't first to market, and they haven't really surpassed anyone with anything except sales. I kind of think of them as a great sales force and a group of engineers that are experts in merging in their acquisitions and copycating others technology and business models. I don't really base this on any fact but unless they come up with something new and revolutionary they will end up shrinking and eventually be swallowed up by another player out there. Here's a good article that mostly focuses on wiki's but also gives the history of organizing the internet and yahoo's original idea that has now been totally scrapped and they have adopted the google model.