Do you remember the feeling you had on the last day of school before summer? The energy, buzz, and excitement you had to unplug from the grind of the school year and enter the bliss of summer, where you were free to go on vacation, to summer camp, or just spend time with your family and friends? That feeling seems like such a long time ago. That is, up until last week — for me, and for the rest of the folks at TUNE.
This year, TUNE tried an experiment. We wanted to bring that breath of relaxation and personal space back by providing everyone time to step away. A week-long, so-called “professional summer break.” Yes, we all get to enjoy our vacation time, but if you are anything like me, you find yourself checking in with your team, checking emails and Slack to keep up on what’s happening, and likely don’t get to fully disconnect without the fear of a massive inbox upon return. The beautiful part of this week is that all of our colleagues were on break as well.
It was an opportunity for everyone at TUNE to pause and focus on what’s important in their life outside of their day-to-day routines. Dive into a passion project, spend time to get to know yourself better, or simply use the time to staycation and get to all of those things you want to do, but never found the time to.
Oh yeah … there was also an opportunity to go to summer camp. TUNE’s founders, Lucas and Lee, have been working hard to fulfill their ideation for work-life integration over the last year, and found their happy place on a serene piece of property in Valdez, Alaska. When they haven’t been cranking on projects for TUNE, they have been transforming their raw piece of land into a retreat for others to come unwind and enjoy the beauty of America’s Last Frontier. So during the gifted week off to unplug, Lucas and Lee hosted 39 TUNErs and their families in Valdez to enjoy the Fourth of July with each other. Although I didn’t get a chance to participate in the Alaska trip, I heard amazing stories of people connecting with each other on a deeper personal level, and rarely hearing a peep about work life.
While so many of my work family was up in Alaska, or traveling to Mexico, Iceland, or Japan, I was gifted the opportunity to spend some amazing quality time with close friends and family. My week started off with a quick trip down to Marin County, California for the wedding of one of my oldest friends, Ryan. This trip brought back that buzz and energy of summer break, as Ryan and I spent so many of those days together. I was able to see his brothers, parents, aunt and uncle, a handful of other childhood friends, and most importantly, my parents, who also made the trip down to spend the weekend with me. I am fortunate to see my parents often, but with a 4-year-old daughter and an 18-month-old son, our family get-togethers are a little more hectic than our weekend in California. A nice brunch in Sausalito, a beautiful wedding in the redwoods, and a brief trip to Sonoma for wine tasting afforded us some time to reconnect on life. It was amazing.
When I returned home, the rest of my week was still circulating around family. My father-in-law and his wife were in town from New York, and we all spent the Fourth of July at my parents’ house with my family. My wife and I had a lazy Wednesday as she had the day off, so we spent a lot of time with the kids at home; I spent Thursday and Friday with my little dude Calvin, as he had a bit of a cold and wasn’t able to go to daycare. It was time well spent — he was attached to my hip, and even helped me clean out the garage.
The week was busy, but at the same time felt effortless. As Sunday was coming to an end, I was able to reflect on the opportunities I had during the entire week, and how it was a beautiful way to spend some time away from the office and relax with those who are so important to me.
What was the result for the rest of TUNE? Monday morning felt almost like the first day of a new school year. Everyone was refreshed, a little tanner, and sharing stories of their adventures and experiences. We are leaned-in, ready to tackle the next quarter and the rest of 2017, and can bring with us those memories and experiences about what is important to us outside of our work lives.
A look inside: How TUNE employees spent their week off
“TUNE’s generosity shone through twofold during the first week of July, through both the gift of an entire week off for all employees worldwide, and in the spirit of its founders, who hosted a spectacular gathering at their Valdez, Alaska retreat. Consummate hosts that they are, the effort they’d gone to and the passion that drove them was clear upon arrival, and all manner of food, drink, recreation, relaxation, and shelter was provided. Plus lots of fireworks, of course. Those who made the journey know the magic that awaits in the Alaskan grandeur. We returned rejuvenated, more closely knit, filled with awe, and I am so thankful to have had such an opportunity.” — Ian Molee, Software Development Engineer, Seattle
“During the TUNE week off I went on a bike camping trip from Berlin to the Baltic Sea. There’s a great network of bike paths crossing Germany, running through forests and fields and connecting small villages. You can buy vegetables for your dinner directly from tables at the roadside. It was the perfect way to disconnect completely for a few days, I only used my phone to take some pictures.” (Photo at the top of post.) — Malin Larsson, Account Manager, Berlin
“Having the week off at TUNE was incredible and greatly appreciated. We are expecting a baby girl (our first!) in August so it really gave me the time to fully prepare for her by washing her clothes, organizing her nursery and reading to prepare for our new little one. My husband had to work during this week so I walked our dog 2-3 miles every day as well and truly practiced some self care. Typically when I take vacation, I find it hard to fully disconnect because I want to continue my high standards to other co-workers…this vacation was different. I was confident that everyone was doing the same thing so it truly allowed me to have the type of liberation that was so needed and I couldn’t be more thankful.” — Sabrina Hilton, Director of Recruiting, Seattle
“I’m so glad I made my way to Cambodia for a six day yoga retreat during our company holiday. At the retreat, we went on a complete digital detox, and it definitely allowed us to fully enjoy the present life and better connect with each other in the nature land. With the loving and supportive community, I was truly inspired and motivated, it put me in the perfect mental, physical, and spiritual space to return home. My colleagues even told me that I looked so peaceful when I was back in the office!” — Min Wang, Sales Executive, Seoul
“As soon as I got the word about us having the time off, I knew it meant my wife and I could plan for something special. We were thinking about Hawaii but Paris ended up being cheaper, actually! We love Paris and hadn’t been back in a couple of years, so it was awesome to go back and take in more of the sights and be tourists for a couple of days. Plus, we love to seek out great places for food so what better place to spend a week exploring with each other!” — Tim O’Neil, Head of Strategic Sales, San Francisco
As COO, Cameron oversees operations at TUNE, including human resources, global office operations, IT and customer service teams. Previously, Cameron was GM leading TUNE's flagship product, HasOffers, actively contributing to business development and product strategies. Before joining the company in 2009, Cameron worked with Robert Half International for Fortune 500 clients, developing and maintaining relationships by consulting corporations on their organizational development and staffing needs. Since joining TUNE in 2009, Cameron has combined his business development and leadership experience with customer-centric views to deliver an experience that revolutionizes customer care standards in the industry. Cameron graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s in Finance and Economics.