Do Your Team Members Need “Me Days”?

Sometimes is really is all about me
Sometimes is really is all about me
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As an IT manager, you need to always be searching for ways to use your IT manager skills to get the most out of the team that you are managing. Your team is made up of highly trained IT professionals and with a little luck, they come in each day and really apply themselves to the tasks that the team has committed to work on. However, as we are all too aware of, our team members need to be careful to not become too overloaded. We don’t want them to burn out. Could a “me day” be the solution to this problem?

What a “Me Day” Is

There are not a lot of companies that currently offer team members a “me day”, but at the ones that do this type of day is considered to be a paid day off that the company encourages them to spend on themselves. The important thing to note here is that that these days are in addition to vacation time, personal and sick days.

As valuable as such days would seem on the surface, it turns out that many team members still need some prodding to take advantage of them. On average, Americans get 21 days paid vacation days every year. It turns out that they end up forfeiting 4.9 of them each year according to studies.

How IT managers feel about “me days” is mixed. Based on their IT manager training some believe that this is a valuable thing. They realize that the members of their teams are “always on” and they need some guilt-free time that will allow them to disconnect from their online lives. However, other IT managers are somewhat doubtful about the concept of a “me day”. They view it as more of a marketing move by companies. They see me days as simply being a way to brand personal days. This comes across as an attempt by companies to put a new name on an old benefit in order to appear to be a trendy firm.

How To Make Use Of “Me Days”

Creating the concept of a “me day” is a progressive idea for an IT manager. However, actually getting your staff to use this new benefit can be quite a challenge. You will always find that you have team members who are not interested – they just want to do their job and then go home at the end of the day.

You are going to have to find ways to motivate members of your team to take advantage of this benefit. Your reason for doing this is because studies have shown that team members who do use “me days” end up being able to come up with new ideas about how to solve problems and end up boosting the innovation that your team is able to produce. Showing workers that you are willing to provide them with this benefit shows that you really care about the total employee.

Some firms insist that team members use their time to go and learn something new. The hope is that this will result in benefits for the company. Learning something new can end up boosting a team member’s mood and this can result in them providing better customer service and perhaps even making them more creative. Another benefit for IT managers who can offer this benefit is that it may result in a lower staff turnover rate because you’ll have happier employees.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the challenges of being an IT manager is that we want to get the most out of our team. In order to make this happen we need to provide clear assignments, review the work that is done, offer IT team building and make sure that we hand out a lot of complements. Even with all of this, we still run the risk that members of our team may start to get burned out. In order to prevent this from happening we may want to consider implementing a “me day” program.

A “me day” is exactly what it sounds like: a paid day off that a team member can use any way that they want. These days would be in addition to the days off that an employee already gets. Employees may need to be motivated to use them because many days off currently go unused. IT managers have mixed feelings about the value of me days. If you can get your team members to use their me days, then with a little luck they’ll come back more motivated, creative, and this will help the team. Me days may also help to reduce staff turn over.

Managing a team of IT professionals is not an easy task. We need to get the most out of our teams without burning them out. Adding a “me day” to our management bag-of-tricks might be just the thing that we need to provide our team members with a chance to recharge and boost their creativity. Give it a try and see if some time off yields a big benefit for your team.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How many “me days” do you think that a firm should offer to its employees?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As IT managers, we are always expected to be “up”. That means that when our management comes to us with a new assignment, we use our IT manager skills to say “yes”. When members of our team come to us and ask for help we use our IT manager training to say “yes”. Basically, everyone expects us to always be ready to help them out. However, we don’t always feel like helping everyone out. In fact, sometimes we feel a great deal of self-doubt and really don’t want to have to deal with anyone. Is there any way for an IT manager to deal with the challenge of negative thoughts?