TED.com is about to go dark for two weeks. No new TED Talks will be posted until Monday, August 8, 2016, while most of the TED staff takes a two–week vacation. Yes, we all (or almost all) go on vacation at the same time. No, we don’t all go to the same place.
We’ve been doing it this way now for seven years. Our summer break is a little hack that solves the problem of an office full of Type-A’s with raging FOMO. We avoid the fear of missing out on emails and new projects and blah blah blah … by making sure that nothing is going on.
I love how the inventor of this holiday, TED’s founding head of media June Cohen, once explained it: “When you have a team of passionate, dedicated overachievers, you don’t need to push them to work harder, you need to help them rest. By taking the same two weeks off, it makes sure everyone takes vacation,” she says. “Planning a vacation is hard — most of us still feel a little guilty to take two weeks off, and we’d be likely to cancel when something inevitably came up. This creates an enforced rest period, which is so important for productivity and happiness.”
Bonus: “It’s efficient,” she says. “In most companies, people stagger their vacations through the summer. But this means you can never quite get things done all summer long. You never have all the right people in the room.”
So, as the bartender said: You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. We won’t post new TED Talks for the next two weeks. The office is (mostly) empty. And we stay off email. The whole point is that vacation time should be truly restful, and we should be able to recharge without having to check in or worry about what we’re missing back at the office.
See you on Monday, August 8!
Note: This piece was first posted on July 17, 2014. It was updated on July 27, 2015, and again on July 20, 2016.