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A lucky thing about a job that feels valuable is knowing that going to work means more than just getting a paycheck. That feeling gives a sense of deep satisfaction, of real happiness. The downside is that sometimes work may start to feel not just valuable but also a little serious.
The founders of FundRaiser, Gene and Marcy Weinbeck, were aware of that and came up with a company tradition to help. At least once a month, the company has a three-day holiday weekend. In August, when the US has no official holiday, we picked our own-- Happiness Happens Day.
Autumn Shirley, who is now the CEO of FundRaiser, likes the tradition of the monthly three-day weekend to create a happier working environment. "As a small company that does everything in-house, from writing and developing our software to marketing, selling, and supporting it, we tend to be under a lot of pressure – much like many of our customers feel when managing all of the day-to-day operations in their organizations. Having a three-day weekend each month is a kind of pressure release valve… having that guaranteed downtime means that we come back to work feeling more energized and more connected – and are able to be at the top of our game for our customers!"
"Happiness Happens Day is my favorite FundRaiser holiday because it’s such a feel-good reason for taking the day off – we tend to spend a lot of our holidays running around, trying to get extra tasks done, but this day, in particular, is a day for doing things that make us feel good," says Autumn. "Last year, I really enjoyed reading in bed, having an extra cup of coffee, and spending a whole day hanging out with our cats. This year, I look forward to much the same."
Marcy Weinbeck says “As an employer I knew that people get tired and don’t do their best work when they get tired. I felt like at least once a month we needed a three-day weekend. People can relax better that way. It makes our staff happier and feeling that they are valued. The tradition of these three-day weekends monthly is one of the things I’m really pleased that Autumn and Joshua have retained when they took over the leadership of the company.”
When Marcy established the three-day weekend tradition, she selected holidays to celebrate for the months that didn't have an official federal holiday. "For several of the months that didn’t have a federal holiday, it was easy to find a holiday to add so that the month would have a three-day weekend, like the first day of Summer, for June. The one that was the hardest was August," says Marcy. "Then I saw on another calendar that Australia celebrates Picnic Day. For several years we borrowed that. Then a few years ago, the Happiness Happens movement came to our attention and we chose that. We really liked the idea of happiness as a movement.”
Marcy isn't concerned that some of the company holidays are unusual, “I’ve never minded being seen as a little quirky… neither has Gene. I hoped that most of the people who even noticed would get it—that we can do a better job for you if we take better care of ourselves."
Says Gene Weinbeck, "I like the idea of there being a three-day weekend every month. Everyone needs a little extra time away to let the brain recoup. Efficiency goes up. It's always a joyful thing when there's a three-day weekend."
If you would like to know more about the Happiness Happens movement, visit the website of the Secret Society of Happy People.