Woman enjoying her holiday on the beach

Full Contact Holiday

I know it’s not like me to start a post with a negative outlook, but the truth is today, more than most days I really miss the sun.

I am tired of the rain and perpetually cold toes. I am bored of my winter wardrobe and shoving my hair into a bobble hat. 

I long to wear floaty clothing and complain about the heat, I want sand in my toes and salt water in my hair. In short, I want a holiday.

Before you say “Oh Caree, its Christmas! Don’t you just wish for snow, curled up by the fire drinking hot chocolate”. The answer is no, I don’t. I wish for sun, sea, and sand in a land far, far away.

I have decided that I am geographically displaced from where my soul wishes to reside and today, I refuse to be okay with it.

Just imagine my joy this morning when already feeling so chirpy (bitter, twisted and narky) I read about a company who not only provide paid holiday for their staff but who also pay for the holiday. Now imagine my mood when I confirmed that this was not my employer, it was someone else’s.

The company is Full Contact, an American identity resolution and insights platform. American! Why do they need holidays, they live in a holiday destination!

Okay, I am sorry, I promise I will quit my ranting and tell you how lovely it is for the Full Contact employees to be provided with such a wonderful, and no doubt deserved perk. There, see, barely a grimace. 

They call the benefit, Paid, Paid Vacation. Basically, this means that their employees get a minimum 15 days paid annual leave, plus the standard public holidays and then $7500 per year to spend on a holiday. 

So, what’s the catch? I hear you ask. Well, there isn’t one. There are rules, but they are not what you could call a catch, more like life rules to live by: 

1. You have to actually go on holiday, or you don’t get the money.

2. You must disconnect while on holiday, no phoning the office.

3. You can’t work while on holiday – at all.

That’s it! They are the rules. I wonder if they are hiring? Someone please find me an application form.

They have even gone so far as to lay out some guiding principles to help their employees understand their thinking behind the concept – I am not sure they took much convincing, but it is interesting to read.

Guiding Principle 1 - It is really important to disconnect.

 “In today’s world of Email, iPhones, Androids, Twitter, Facebook and devices on our person 24×7, we’re always connected. It’s not healthy.”- Bart Lorang, Full Contact

Many people won’t spend money on a holiday every year, either they don’t have the cash to fund it or if they do, they think they should really save it. The problem is that then they miss the value of disconnecting. They power on through the year, never taking the opportunity to break out of their daily routine. 

Full Contact want to incentivise employees to disconnect.

Guiding Principle 2 – Full Contact will be a better company if employees disconnect.

Founders, managers and employees alike all tend to fall into the same pattern of thinking, known as Hero syndrome, the “I am the only one who can do this”, mentality.

“That’s not heroic. That’s a single point of failure. It’s not good for the employee or the company.”  - Bart Lorang, Full Contact

It is a misguided outlook that they are working for the good of the company, but the truth is, they are doing more damage with this outlook then they realise. They prevent the corporate team from building a secure structure and a collaborative ethos.

If all employees were to disconnect then the company as a whole would be empowered to work smarter. To share information, to update notes, to contribute to a think-tank and ensure that all documents and information are available, there will be no computer islands.

Overall, by investing in disconnection Full Contact are investing in improving the company.A happy by-product of this is that by dropping the “last line of defence” belief, employees can relax. Happier employees make for a happier, stronger working environment.

Guiding Principle 3 – Everyone deserves a nice vacation.

“We felt that everyone should have the opportunity to take a nice vacation without constantly worrying about how much money they’re spending while on vacation.” -  Bart Lorang,  Full Contact

Having read some of the comments online about this benefit scheme there seem to be mixed opinions, although I should say, none of them are from Full Contact employees, just from people musing about the idea. Some say that 15 days + public holidays is not enough, that they would opt for no money and more days.

Who are these people! If you don’t have the cash to go on holiday what are you going to do with all those the extra days? Sit around in your underwear and eat nachos? Hell no! It also kind of defeats the point don’t you think?

Can you imagine sitting in a staff meeting and this is announced, I know that my lunch break would be spent in the nearest travel agents gathering armfuls of brochures unashamedly.

I have to say that for me, this is by far the very best, most awesome perk I have heard of so far. It is going to take some doing to beat this one.

What do you all think? Is this something you would like to have added to your employment scheme?  What about all you employers out there, would you consider providing something like this to your staff? Hint..hint.. wink.

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