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When a vacation is more than a vacation

Wendy Melville Wendy Melville
Wendy Melville
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During the lockdown, my working days sometimes felt like they were getting longer as I’d try to finish just one more task before signing off as I wasn’t tied to leaving the office by a certain time to catch my train home. This always-on mentality would spill over into my vacation time, I’d find myself reaching for my phone while the kids were occupied to see if anything urgent had come up or to check in on my team. This meant I never truly had the break from work that we all need, never truly switched off, and never managed to fully recharge. Until now…

I’ve just come back from a week’s vacation in England’s Lake District where, thanks to Bandwidth’s vacation email embargo, I was able to totally unplug and truly be present with my family. I have to admit when I first read about the vacation email embargo I thought it was a nice ‘on paper’ policy that I never expected to translate into reality. 

Saint Bee’s Beach (not all beaches in the UK are sandy)

After only a day or so off I did open slack once or twice while away to check in on how my team was getting on–only to be called out when I was spotted online and told to log off and go enjoy myself! 

And this attitude isn’t just limited to one pocket within the business, it’s something at the core of the company. Bandwidth’s CEO David Morken is a big advocate of the embargo and insists employees observe it whatever their position within the company. He said, “We want folks to return from time off feeling refreshed and ready to do amazing things, not feeling guilty for what they didn’t accomplish during the week they were supposed to be ‘off’ or feeling bad about letting their friends or family members down by ignoring them all week.”

“We want folks to return from time off feeling refreshed and ready to do amazing things, not feeling guilty for what they didn’t accomplish during the week they were supposed to be ‘off’ or feeling bad about letting their friends or family members down by ignoring them all week.”  - David Morken

Buttersmere Lake–When the journey from the car park to the path is this beautiful who needs a hike?
So here’s how this vacation was different to so many others I’ve had:

I actually switched off from work

After checking slack once or twice I deleted the app. This removed the temptation to have a quick check in on what was happening back at the office. 

I didn’t come back to an overflowing inbox

Thanks to my Bandmates respecting the vacation email embargo there was no mountain of internal emails and messages to catch up on my first Monday back in the office. 

I was truly present on vacation

There were no distractions. For the first time in a long time, I was able to fully relax and unwind and be truly present in the moment with my family. And it wasn’t just me that noticed – my 10-year-old proudly announced that this was the best vacation EVER! And this isn’t just down to the beautiful, picturesque location as we’ve traveled here many times as a family over the years. She definitely noticed something was different this time around.

And most of all, it felt like a real vacation!

Catbells, Lake District. Voted the best views of any walk in the UK.

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