Time Off Increases ProductivityPassion, drive, compensation, status, recognition, affirmation and security.  This is the list of what motivates people. What many employers don’t realize is that near the top of this list is also time off.

As folks plan ahead for their vacation time, they especially search for three-day holiday weekends. This is their opportunity to strategically plan time off with friends and family. They want to give their friends and family a heads-up so they can schedule time off from their respective jobs to join them on vacations.

When we built the Barefoot wine brand, we discovered something amazing and almost counter-intuitive. Our office people would plan their workloads so that their projects would be completed right before these 3-day bank holidays. They knew that it’s not the mess you leave, it’s the mess you come back to.  Because they wanted to come back to a relatively clean and organized desk, they would schedule their workload so they would not have to take it along on their vacation, and not have to return to a pile of work.

Then, we noticed something else. A disproportionate number of our office people were taking a single isolated vacation day off during three particular months: March or April (depending on when Easter fell), June, and August. Why those months? Those were the only three months during the year without a national or bank holiday which created a 3-day weekend.

So we decided to create three new paid holidays per year, which we dubbed “Barefoot Days.” Barefoot Days were announced for the upcoming year before Christmas. This gave our people a chance to make plans around them, and notify friends and family. It also gave us a chance to schedule the new bonus holidays so they had the least impact on our business and the most strategic value to our people.

Mondays were generally busy days, so all Barefoot Days were on Fridays. But which Fridays? We decided to place them in the middle of established 3-day weekends. This would break up the relatively long holiday drought with a refreshing oasis, and the year into more evenly-spaced work periods. This way they could look forward to and plan for a 3-day weekend every month.

But as we said, it wasn’t just time off folks planned for, it was their work as well! Those extra Barefoot Days gave them and our company three big advantages:

1. Increased Production. Most people will plan to complete their work before the 3-day weekends. Our folks regularly put in extra hours to achieve these time-off deadlines. They really didn’t want to take their unfinished projects with them or worse, worry about them while they were on holiday. When they returned, they are recharged, refreshed, and ready to get back to work.

2. Improved Attitude. On Barefoot Days, everybody in the office was going to be gone so there was no peer pressure to be working back at the office while they were out water-skiing. The cadence that the new holidays gave to the year also relieved much of the long-haul tension that builds between the official holidays. Now the work periods were never more than 6 weeks without a break.

3. Improved Loyalty.  Barefoot days were always in the top three reasons why our people loved working at Barefoot.

So as the summer is upon us, consider giving your people some bonus holiday days so they can enjoy the great weather with friends and family. You may find it doesn’t cost–it pays to give Bonus Days!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.