Do CEOs ever really take time off?

Do CEOs ever really take time off?

Over the long weeks of summer even the busiest executives want to spend time away from their office.

So what happens if you run your own firm? You might have the big salary that comes with the top job, but little time to enjoy it. Can CEOs ever release their grip and truly take a break?

We went to question and answer site, Quora to find out whether CEOs take time off.

It’s all about strategy

It depends on your strategy for running a productive company, according to former engineer Francis Irving. Irving, who runs his own company, wrote that small amounts of holiday time can be a good way of testing or future-proofing your business. Can it survive with the team you have in place?

Irving wrote that all employees get worn out – so a change of scene and complete separation from their daily routine is not just good for an employee, but for the company, too.

“People get stuck in particular patterns that need breaking,” he wrote, making the point that if a company can't operate for a few weeks without one particular employee, then the other people on the team haven't been hired well or trained properly.

“Remember also that anyone can fall ill, or have a family crisis, at any time. They can be taken away from work by such things at no notice, for long periods of time,” Irving wrote.

“It's only fair on your customers, other employees and investors, to structure your company so that that will not be disruptive. Everyone taking holiday is good minimal practice for that.”

Just don’t disconnect

Designer Wolfgang Bremer thinks the people at the top do “take vacation like anybody else,” but is sure “they don't just switch off their phones, close their laptop-lids, etc while they’re away.”

Bremer wrote that instead because of their role at the top, they must do regular calls and phone conferences, check their emails and respond regularly, and actually work during their vacation. “They won't simply just disconnect for that time.”

Taking a breather

Gam Dias described what it’s like being a start-up chief executive officer in need of a break. “Let's say you're cooking dinner and you have 4 pans on the stove. How can you sneak out of the kitchen and maybe even run to the store without ruining the meal or getting it to the table late?” he wrote.
Dias added that you have to ensure everything will continue to cook “that the ingredients you need to use as soon as you are back are ready, then you take a deep breath, turn the burners down slightly and you do your best to make sure that nothing is going to go wrong while you are out.”

He wrote that because, as CEO, you have so many projects on a critical path and so few resources to complete them, it’s even more important to get away on a very rare occasion “even if it just to breathe and keep all of your personal relationships in order”.

Quora respondents are required to use their true names under the site’s Real Names policy. To help ensure legitimacy and quality, Quora asks some individuals, such as doctors and lawyers, to confirm their expertise.

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