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REMOTE by GitLab 2021
June 29, 2021, Online, USA
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REMOTE by GitLab 2021: Make Time Off a Part of The Job
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About the talk

Speaker: John Fitch, Founder, Time Off

As leaders and managers, we are essentially the trainers and coaches of elite performers, and it is our responsibility to not only track and coach their “active” work, but also their rest and recovery work. This session will expand your understanding of Time Off and get you thinking about a Rest Ethic as good as your Work Ethic.

Get in touch with Sales: http://bit.ly/2IygR7z

About speaker

John Fitch
Chief of Staff at IRL

I wrote an internationally best selling book for helping us feel less overwhelmed and overworked: www.timeoffbook.com I am passionate about helping teams and organizations unlock more creativity through working calmer/smarter and focusing on human dignity. I spend my time pondering, writing, designing, and listening. I believe the future of work is all about creativity and more noble leisure.

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This next talk might just inspire you to relax and let go of some stress. Let's welcome. John, Fitch author of time off when the world switched to remote work, productivity actually went up, but the number of hours we worked Rose even higher. And now I think we're all ready for a good break. That's the thrust of John's work in understanding the value of rest for improving performance. It turns out rest and Recovery are crucial to a healthy life and as leaders. And managers. The best thing to do for our team's performance is to give

them time off to decompress, the find out how that works and how to implement it. Let's hear with John has to say Hello, it's a great honor. My name is John Fitch of the book time off. And since the book has come out, we've helped a lot of organizations rethink. The way they look at time off the way they approached. I'm off in the way they manage time off, and I'm going to talk to you about that. So this is a construct of making time off a part of the job.

If you're attached to walk away with this, with one analogy, it's to look at your team. Look at the people at your company, like Elite performers. Analy performers, like athletes, let's say, they rest is hard as they work in our books. I'm off introduced this concept of a rest ethic. It's important to have a rest ethic as good as your work ethic another analogy. We use his it's having a XL. To your inhale. That was work. That is rest. So we did a report

with Deloitte. We are involved and Jen Fisher and their team worked on this and it was titled. The disconnect disconnect. And it's making sure to align your culture and your policies of making sure people have time off. The truth is that our vacation system is broken. Sounds great on paper and on the surface, but it puts a lot of responsibility on to the individual and our team. And what we've come to see across many organizations is time off, can become a deep part of the

culture, if the organization in the leaders, managers, take it on as their responsibilities. And this is important to prevent burnout, but as our book will show you, you can unlock more creativity decentralized thinking, decentralized operations, and just in general more creativity with an intentional rest, that they can time off. And all you need to remember, is that a lot of unused, PTO occurs? the results of that is a ton of productivity loss, Healthcare loss and

Enthusiasm lost and enthusiasm is a rare and precious resource inside of your organization in Lemoore into your intentional time off. And your rest, I think will help you increase your enthusiasm again at your company. And the reasons people find it hard to take time off is that there is a culture of showing off how hard you can work. So this is just like dizziness contagious nature. Instead. You could replace that with a calm way of being there too much. Work lack of documentation. So you never feel

like you can step away. And there is just a feeling of it's hard to justify my time off because I've already got enough to do. This introduces a few important questions for leadership. First of all, is your team utilizing their time off, their vacation time? Do you track that? Are you aware of their time off? Are you aware of their perceived exertion in? Are they training towards burnout? First of all, can you measure this? And if not, that's maybe your first task and you can also workshop with

your team. How does everyone feel around time off right now and how we approach it do people have a hard time and why and understanding this and when they were fresh when they come back? And last but not least, is leadership modeling the calm. Behavior. Do you take time off yourself? Time off is a part of the work just like time off is really important for an elite performer in like an athlete will wear on knowledge athletes. We are intelligent athletes. We are creative athletes and

just like a physical athlete. You incorporate your rest, as much as your work, and so you need company policy and culture to enable list. And you have to take into consideration your culture, before diving deep into any policy creation or redesign. Because what works at one company that is very inspiring, might not work in the context of your business. So really making sure that your policy changes, they, they need to match with with your culture. And that's a area of work shopping

that you'll have to do. So, there's a lot of policy options that we've helped teams take on that. Go beyond unlimited PTO. Look unlimited PTO can work. It's rare and it can work. But We found that, it's very rare for it to work. So, other Concepts were seeing our 4-day work weeks, or just in general reduction of a work week mandatory time off. We can come on, come in, many forms. And I'll talk about that your moment. And another tactic is starting to separate things

like sick, leave from your PTO. So these are different to Aristocrat. You can modify. Of your current time off policy and management. I will personally say that I'm a fan of. Let It Go. If you have it of unlimited PTO and getting more forward-thinking and intentional around time off. I'll give you a few examples. So this is simplifying who makes it mandatory to take one week off every eight weeks. It's enforced by Financial punishment. There's a good incentive model there. And there's also some reasonable rules to make sure it works with their

culture and their bottom line. Like for example, no back-to-back weeks off with the close team is found out that would that would be destructive. And what's great about this is it takes away the added responsibility of the individual to figure out. When are they going to have time awesome? It's their projects. This now makes it across the whole portfolio of projects and initiatives. A conversation of making sure intentional time off is baked into all the intentional time on Rest up was an initiative by LinkedIn, where they just did a entire week off around

spring break time. And here's some evidence of and some post of their employees just very proud and excited. That their company was not just saying that they should prevent burnout and take time off. Made everyone take time off. And Lincoln is Holland Roblox. Also did this, they did a spring break Initiative for everyone at the company and they wrote an awesome public. Marketing up blog post to communicate why this is important to them. These are two great signals of company-wide time off. Chatbooks

also has replace unlimited PTO with mandatory time off. And what's cool about this is they've been Iterating on this because the first time you give it to go. Course, there's going to be some improvements naturally and they're evolving that. For example, say, no during the holiday season that their customer support is more intense than usual. So they make sure that the anyone that works in that function is just going to have their mandatory time off in a different time than that. And so you can smell the approach it through season's. Maybe you can approach it on

Project timeline, but they're making it a company responsibility to gift. People incentivizes people for their awesome time with awesome time off. Wonderful example, here with chatbooks. We have a profile on a book on Arianna, Huffington media entrepreneur. And what's cool about this example is they got rid of the word vacation and talk about something different called Thrive time, which is think about it as decompression. So after a really intense push of a project of an initiative, just like an athlete. After intense training,

there is intentional time off to decompress recover and reflect and so look across all of your portfolio of intense projects right now and maybe the ones that were just completed are the ones that are soon to complete the people that are wrapping those upper probably exhausted and what a great gift to give someone after an intentional project. So maybe you can come up with your own version of that, that's more project-oriented. Which is it could be across different teams, different sub-teams to slightly different than company-wide and more

project-oriented, which I think is Fan of this model and I've seen it work across many. Many organizations. Here are some examples of modeling this as leadership, which is really important. Busy and stress is contagious, but so is calm and Darren get lab. I emailed him one time and I got this lovely about him taking time off and actually linking out to resources that they have in support of mindfulness in mental health and the nobility of leisure. And that rest is productive. This such an amazing example, not only two who Darren works with internally at gitlab, but also

Outsiders that are emailing him. There's a few other examples here, Jim Fisher at Deloitte, who is a great friend and collaborator. She also had a, out-of-office message, that spoke to the value of time off. We're seeing leaders across LinkedIn posting about dare. Proud rather than being proud of always busy and stressing out and overworking. They're proud of actually taking some intentional time off and stepping away and seeing the value in that and most importantly, promoting it. And you can do this at the company-wide level like LinkedIn where they

said. Hey office is closed, rest is important and we hope you get some rest too. So think about the behavior that you're encouraging to living at yourself. So, you really need to think about your unique culture would have company-wide time off for Coach work. If not understand why if so, make sure to think through all the nuances there and how you would statistically plan that. If it won't be a company-wide, maybe he's a project oriented model of making. Sure there's decompression staggered in between project, kickoffs. Maybe

that maybe that works for you and you and you've got to think about that. But the point is, is we spend so much time, workshopping our time on, and all the work that we need to do. Amazon, we just take an hour with leadership or our teams and workshop. Hey, we want to prioritize time off and enable all of you to have quality time off. What's getting, in the way? That's a great prompt. Or does anyone have any ideas or other companies that you think do this, an interesting way that we might be able to get inspiration from. It's really fun to Workshop. How to rest more trust me. There's

three key phases of change that you're going to have to think about by accepting. If it calls to you, this making time off a company responsibilities, that you're going to have to keep in mind in. The first is permission and permission is Living at yourself. So, making sure that you're prioritizing this. Having workshops around time off at, I'm off to mental health, in Burnout, and making sure that it's known that you encourage it, not only culturally, but in your policy and you going to have to update your language in your taxonomy, you're going to

have to think about systems that can power this so that people feel safe and they feel like they can actually enjoy their time off and also that when they come back but it's not going to be crazy. There's a lot here, but by putting into action you start giving permission Then you've got to prioritize because this is going to be new and it's definitely counter to a lot of Western culture. So you got to make sure to prioritize this. This isn't a nice to have this, isn't it? We'll get to it later. It's just like thirst and burnout. I make this analogy with burnout and thirst. They say,

when I, when I used to train a competitive cycling, they said Once you're thirsty, you're too late, you can replace that with once you're burnt out, you're too late. So prioritize this and making sure that you're modeling it at the leadership level, you're communicating this, you're investing in this and you're keeping everyone on the team, informed and extracting ideas from them on how your organization can get better at intentional time off. So you got to pry and just because you prioritize it in practice. It doesn't mean that your work is done.

We're all in the business of iteration and continuous Improvement. The same applies here with your rest ethic and time off. So you got to regularly remind your team of time off. That's great. When you come back from time off for it in your out-of-office message to remind people that this is important to your culture that it empowers. A buildup of enthusiasm, to prevent burnout, increase his creativity and you just, it's, it's involves human dignity to make sure that we have intentional rest and you've got to reassess. So, just like I mentioned with the anecdote of

chatbooks, after you one of your time off experiments, you should reflect on the provement there and have the next version of It upgraded just like we upgrade software. And you'll have to update. Upgrade your policy to have to upgrade the way you talk about this. It's it's a moving Target and it's in, it's never finished. One last thing I would love to show you is the rest. Epic time off model. This goes very deep and we're happy to talk with any of you that resonate with this deeper. Most people only do

time off and then time on, right. It's like you're awesome. And you're on, maybe you, maybe throw up out of office message. Where is the practice of proper? Rest at the time off model involves many more segments and these are segments for you. Two are phases. Should I say for you to think about your own instance of it? Cuz it's kind of different crossover ization. But Here We Go, From the last, we have documentation. If your people of that have knowledge are not documenting their knowledge and I'm not just talking about the engineers Engineers are historically known for

great documentation. So that if there a way another engineer can access that knowledge of the code and assist contribute towards it. Most of us. I'm guilty of, in the past myself of whether I was in a business development role, as head of design, roll advisor, roll documenting my knowledge. Because, if if I'm out, if I'm not available, there's a repository of that. So, the more you're documenting, the more you're investing in the ability to take time off. So that, when you're away, with your well-deserved time

off, at least your core knowledge is referenceable. Think about that. Am I documenting my knowledge internally? As much as a great engineer documents his or her code. Probably could do better. I know I certainly can. So once you have proper documentation. Then you can start start better preparation. Who who's going to cover for you? Not just one person may be multiple. People are going to cover for you. Make sure that they have access to your knowledge in the documentation. If you properly prepared, now, you can really be off.

You can really have decompression. Others can. Cover for you. It's not disruptive. It's well-deserved. Usually people come back to the office after time off and its back on the treadmill speed, 10, incline, 12 and its intensity almost dread going back. So you can come up with your own reintegration real incorporation reintroduction into the company. This could take this could take on a day or two or you're coming back in seeing how things when your documentation got updated cuz other

people were covering for you and you need that new context. Maybe you had some Epiphany during your time off some clarity, clear areas of improvement, some awesome ideas. Let's make sure to document that in to integrate it so that the time off what other the genius I came out of your time off. The good ideas. That came out of your time off, don't go wasted and just dissipate and then finally as you take some time to get brought up to speed, now, it's time on again and you've shown up rested enthused and Most likely leveled up.

And now, time off, intentional time off, can be an improvement function at your organization, to help. You become more decentralized, to have more redundancy to be more resilient to time off is not just Hey, we're going to prevent burnout actually forces you to think about smarter systems and decentralizing knowledge in command and Leadership. So it by any better at time off at quality time off. You're going to get better at quality time on and that's a worthy investment. So

remember, Time off is for pros. Athletes schedule in their time off their coaches, take their athletes time off, very serious and we are all knowledge and intellectual and creative athletes. So we need to take our rest serious. We need to have a solid rest at the so lean into this awesome idea of, how do you and power and encourage in some cases, make time off mandatory? Because you care about your people and you care about them doing their best work and showing up in the best way. In time off can be one of your strategies to do so. It's an honor

to speak with you. I hope many of you reach out to me and talk to me about time off or what you just do in your leisure time. If it has to do with cooking, or hiking, or guard her martial arts, or play music. Those are the things. I'm into to reach out to me about that. I'd love to hear what you do in your Noble Leisure. And if this concept really resonated with you, check out our book time off. And lastly, do you have any ideas or questions that you're intrigued by? You can reach out to us at time, off., We'd be glad to hear from you.

And get loud. Thank you. You have been an inspiration to me of the future of work, and a more liberating reality for knowledge. Workers lived out, much of the advice. I've chair today and you validated so much of my Concepts and ideas that Max. And I put into our Book, Thief added to our credibility, and it's really an honor to be involved in keep leading the way. Thank you.

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