Time Off

I once worked for San Francisco-based Belrad Group, whose founder treated us to regular offsite retreats at five-star venues like the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay or Carmel Valley Ranch. We'd take time to reflect and set new goals, and then break for some cool outing, like Land Rover Driving School.

We also enjoyed flexible work schedules, really cool office space just off San Francisco Bay, a salary that allowed us to actually live near that office if we so desired (which you know is huge if you've heard anything about San Francisco real estate), and a general sense of feeling taken care of by our employer. In return, this group was one of the most dedicated and productive cultures I've ever been a part of.

I am fully aware that not every employer has the capacity to offer the things I enjoyed in that gig, but I firmly believe that if more businesses would do some unorthodox brainstorming, they'd quickly discover some seriously do-able strategies to increase employee fulfillment and loyalty. Thus, my ongoing series, "Culture Mavericks," beginning with...


Think About It...
Although their method is not without its critics, San Francisco-based 42Floors starts all new hires with a two-week paid vacation. Supporters say this time allows new hires to rejuvenate or even recover from from a previous job that might have left them burnt out, allowing them to start a new position with clear eyes and focus.

Think Bigger?
Many employers are doing away with the hassle of tracking PTO altogether, and simply offering unlimited time off

Every seven years, Sagmeister Walsh in NYC shuts down for a yearlong sabbatical. Check out Stefan Sagmeister's TED Talk about the experience. (For any design lovers, he also has a lovely TED talk about happiness + design.)

Twin Cities agency, Barrie D'Rozario DiLorenzo (formerly Barrie D'Rozario Murphy) gave its employees the entire summer of 2013 off, fully paid. Rather than focusing on how the break would bolster business, CEO Stuart D'Rozario told Kare11, "If the only thing that comes out of it is that everyone got time to great things and have an amazing four months which are the best times of their lives, then that would be well worth it."

Does your job have any cool perks? Do you offer your employees something a little unorthodox? Comment below, or email me at CleoRaven.com for potential "Culture Maverick" features!