Like many of you we have been working around the clock, balancing work, with the added pressures that came with the Covid-19 lockdown – children at home, home-schooling, heightened anxiety – which can only be maintained for so long.

Our people have been running on empty here at The GC Index for a few weeks. 2020 has been relentless and as we keep growing at such a rate I do not see the team’s workload abating anytime soon. Whilst working hard is certainly not something we are afraid of, and it’s fantastic to be so busy, I recognise the urgent need for the team to refresh and recharge.

So, I have been thinking about how to respond to these challenges.

Give our people more holiday?
We could do that but quite often the person on holiday doesn’t completely switch off because everyone else is still at work and they are digitally connected. Also, what happens with people taking individual holiday time is that their workload tends to fall to someone else to pick up so the person on holiday may come back refreshed but everyone else is feeling the opposite. Here in the UK the only time that people really switch off is over Christmas because everyone else is ‘collectively not working’.

What would happen if we just closed the whole company down for a week?
This was my favourite idea! We have spent the whole year obsessively dedicated to our GC Partners, Clients and GCologists: it’s about time to to focus on ourselves properly – ‘you can’t look after others if you don’t look after yourself first’. I was very set on the idea to close the company for a week, but when speaking to the team I had some very strong push back (especially from our Polishers!), they were very nervous about doing it: “We can’t let people down, what if people need us during this week, what do we do?”

It became very apparent to me that many of the team would not be able to disconnect whilst off because they would be worrying about our GC Partners, Clients and GCologists needing something. To quote the last page of the Mr Worry book by Robert Hargreaves, Mr Worry said: “I’m worried because I don’t have anything to worry about” and he went home to worry about not having anything to worry about!

The creation of ‘The GC Index 5% Week’
One thing was still very clear in my mind and that was we need a collective break. So, with all this considered and after strategising with The GC Index team (a painful process for me!), we came up with a solution whereby we can all recharge collectively at the same time (like at Christmas ?) and manage any unnecessary worry. Instead of shutting the business down fully we have created ‘The GC Index 5% Week’, the first of which will take place the week of the 20th July 2020.

This will avoid our people feeling anxious about anything urgent that our GC Partners, GCologists and Clients may need but allow everyone the chance to really take a break at the same time.

What is The GC Index 5% Week?
The GC Index 5% Week is just that – we don’t want any of the team working for more than 5% of their usual working day during this week..

In a bid to look after all our wellbeing and in turn the wellbeing of our business, The GC Index team will ‘down tools’ from Monday 20th July-Friday 24th July and only work a maximum of 5% of the time during this week. This break is in additional to the normal holiday they can take during the year through our fully flexible holiday scheme.

I am encouraging the team to proactively look after themselves, whether that is using the time for a digital detox, to focus on family, get some more exercise in or simply rest. Whatever they decide to use the time to do is their choice but it’s an opportunity to take a break and re-energise.

This is why we have introduced the maximum of 5% working time rule during this week. We will be implementing the ‘Must Do – Should Do – Could Do’ model and I will be asking our people to be very strict and only to consider the ‘Must Do’ during the 5% week.

This is something new, we haven’t tried it before, and there is a fair amount of risk that comes with it. But our GC Partners, GCologists and Clients support the idea and I am really hoping that it will help our people to recharge and come back more energised, ready to maximise their impact in a bid to support our global community during the second half of 2020.

Whilst I know this is not necessarily something every organisation can do I’d be keen to get your thoughts. Is your organisation doing anything similar?

Let’s keep changing the game!

Nathan 🙂

This article was written by Nathan Ott – Chief Polisher and Co-founder at The GC Index