Let’s talk about the value of time off. Most of you probably just raised an eyebrow at that. Time off? What’s that?

It’s a necessity, that’s what it is.

Columnist Dave Bowers this month talks about motivation. Specifically, he discusses employee empowerment and training. Those tactics appeal to the professional part of the employee though, not the personal side. On the personal side, motivations might include higher pay, a flexible schedule and, yes, time off. If your company can only do one of those for employees, let me suggest that last one.

OK, you actually have to give employees time off — thanks, labor laws. But you get what I mean. Where possible, grant vacation requests. And not just in February when work slows. Yes, it sucks to be down a guy for a week in the high drilling season. But that flexibility — his ability to vacation with friends and family — will make him want to come back, and come back refreshed when he does.

Not Just the Crews

As a contractor/owner, when was the last time you took time off? You broke out on your own and started your own drilling company. You built up clients from nothing and hired a good, capable crew. How long have you been working 60- or 70-hour weeks to make this dream happen? 

If you run a small corporation, you probably take a paycheck and get treated for human resources purposes like any other employee. That is, you have a proscribed vacation time every year. Do you take it? Do you get away and turn off your phone when you do?

For those LLC contractors out there, if you’re small enough, taking a vacation might mean zero revenue while you hang out on the beach with a rum punch. But, as we sit here at the height of the hot months of the year, I can tell you it’s all worth it. 

If your business depends on you to function, build time off into your schedule. Make your revenue goals high enough each week that you can afford to take at least two weeks off each year. Think about it. Each year has 52 weeks. If you only work 50 of those weeks, how much harder do the 50 have to work to support the remaining two? Those two weeks would be about 4 percent of your annual revenue. When you distribute that 4 percent over 50 weeks, the answer is not much.

Breathing New Life

Readers probably think I have a cushy job. To be fair, I don’t work in the field wrangling heavy equipment in an array of fun and interesting weather. Nor do I want to. I do have a lot of respect for the folks that do, though. I’m not made of the same stuff.

But office jobs, particularly ones that involve consistent, creative production, have their own strains. For example, writing a column like this might sound fun and easy. But this is my 80th monthly column for National Driller. There are times when I start writing one month’s column, only to realize I wrote about the same topic 18 months earlier. Staying consistently interesting for readers requires creativity — that is, assuming readers find us interesting. That kind of creativity requires recharge.

By the time you read this, I’ll have just returned from the vacation of a lifetime. I’m not bragging. I urge you to do the same. Productivity — on the jobsite or pecking away at a laptop — demands non-productive time. You can bet that when I’m back, I’ll have some new life breathed into me. I wish the same for you.

Stay safe out there, drillers.