Why do we close CYB over Christmas?
It has become a tradition to close the Caution Your Blast Ltd (CYB) office over Christmas. I was asked recently why we do that, and would we always do that? As you can imagine, there are always questions leading up to Christmas as to whether we can actually do it. Everyone wants to know - are we going to close again this year?
As with everything in life we only adopt absolutes in ignorance, and of course one coming year it may not be possible to close. Nevertheless, we always strive to close for 2 weeks, and the reason is both simple and not so simple.
The straightforward and simple story is that teams who value collaborating together do their best work. So unsurprisingly, individual holidays interrupt this - it is hard when missing a key member of the team during the rhythm of delivery. And it is also hard to take leave from your team when you’ve been in a rhythm and have been delivering great work.
But this all becomes really easy when everyone goes on leave at the same time. When the project delivery stops you’re not being left behind: everything is paused waiting for you to return - together.
But there are many more threads to the story too.
Just the knowledge your friends and colleagues are being treated at Christmas, perhaps experiencing special times, is a joy. This freudenfreude is particularly sweet after having witnessed first hand the efforts they’ve each invested in their work over the year.
There is also a collegiate understanding in taking time off together that we each rely on each other. It’s a subtle pointer to the importance of teams, to our individual inconsequence and fragility in the face of complex service and technology challenges.
Furthermore, the shift to shorter days with less daylight and colder temperatures also brings physical stresses which mean that stopping work to focus on home life for an extended break is a chance to pause for health and restoration. Not that everyone takes this opportunity of course - Christmas is renowned for its levels of personal stress. But at least work stresses aren’t adding to the load. We do what we can to help, and so closing the office, and stopping work, is a tangible action to contribute positively to one’s mental health.
Finally I don’t want to miss a chance to raise the flag for a different approach to our information technology (IT) consultancy, this heavy job of digital transformation of services and organisations. This is the approach I call ‘slow IT’.
What do I mean by ‘slow?’ Slow as in savouring and enjoying your work; taking pride in building your skills and showing off your talent; enjoying supporting others in the process, allowing time for thinking time, sharing, creativity and learning - and making sure you make a point of celebrating as goals are achieved along the way. This is done at the same time as working fast and being efficient and effective in your practise so as to make time for… slowing down.
Our Christmas break tradition supports slowing down. It’s a time for reflection, for taking a deep long breath and lightening up. For realising that the journey you’re on with this work has enormous potential to help others and create a better world. And that your best work will happen if you look after yourself.
So this year we close from the 19th December and return all at the same time together in January - hopefully feeling refreshed, motivated, and no doubt enjoying comparing individual stories about what happened over the break.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope it lifts your Christmas spirit. Here’s wishing you very good health and a very merry Christmas and New Year from everyone at CYB - I hope you can enjoy slowing down too!