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The Gift of Time – Why a decent break is the best present you can get this Christmas.

A healthy work-life balance is this year’s top Christmas gift.


“I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning.” says Ebenezer Scrooge, not quite grasping the benefits of a healthy work-life balance in ‘A Christmas Carol’.

The protagonist in Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic is a ‘tight-fisted hand to the grindstone’ whose beleaguered employees would never have known the benefits of flexible working. Until he met the Ghosts of Past, Present and Yet To Come that is.

These spirits give him the gift of Christmas spirit; something which allows him to change his ways and be a better man, in every aspect of his life, not just for Christmas- particularly when it comes to his most loyal clerk Bob Cratchett.

Unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, we take quality of working life seriously here at Clockwise. This is why we’ve created new ways of hybrid working with wellbeing and healthy environments a priority in every location, every day of the year for our colleagues as well as our members.

This got us thinking about our team gifts past, present and yet to come and how they have reflected not just our values but societal shifts as a whole over the years.

  • Past: We were much like any company at that time- sending out cards, wine, hampers and other treats. Delicious but not exactly world-changing.
  • Present: We counted our blessings after one of the toughest years in living memory so, for Christmas last year, we donated the ‘team gift’ money to food banks to help those for whom 2020 had been a period of unimaginable hardship.
  • Yet To Come: For Christmas 2021, our COO Alexandra Brunner has decided that this year, the team will receive the gift of time – additional holiday that extends to nearly two whole weeks off during the festive season. After being kept apart last year, Alex wants to make sure that everybody gets what they want and need most of all after this tough period. Time. Time to reconnect. Time to recharge.

The future, after all, is one of fluidity and flexibility. Flexible working, new ways of hybrid working, coworking and even virtual offices, this new world of business is at the core of the Clockwise philosophy and something that Millennial and Gen-Z employees in particular demand now.

Having a more flexible approach to working shouldn’t just mean that you have shifted the working day around. Don’t forego the revitalising time away that everybody needs- over Christmas, a summer break- a chance to reset the button, time away from the routine of everyday life and simply, an essential for our wellbeing and motivation.

Clockwise Exeter2

Clockwise Exeter

Whilst none of us are quite Ebenezer Scrooge, we do often struggle in our working culture to truly disconnect; here are a few things you can do to give yourself this gift of time without the work worries this Christmas.

Digital Sabbatical 

You’ll probably need your phone for all those lovely family or Friendsmas photos you’ll be taking but it’s time to step away from the work devices. Put the laptop in a drawer and if possible, turn off notifications for work-related things and log out of your work email so there is no temptation to just take a quick peek when you should be focused on the game of Charades.

Set Boundaries 

It’s a no to work-related requests of course but boundaries should even be set in regards to household chores and the like. Don’t make the mistake of replacing a full working day with a full day of other errands. There’s usually lots to be done during the festive season but you shouldn’t end it more tired than you started. If possible, share the load and make sure there is time for actually recharging- napping, your favourite hobby or even your annual Christmas movie marathon.

Leave your work at the office 

Whether you have a full-time physical office or an area of your house that you sometimes use as one when hybrid working, you need to mentally shut it down for the Christmas break. If you’re worried about forgetting what you need to do when you get back, just make a list for your future self and try to leave it in a drawer along with your work gadgets.

The benefits of having just a few proper days off are clear. In this piece from Forbes last summer, the act of taking time off increases mindfulness, heart health, reduces stress and even improves sleep.

So, shut down the laptop screen, turn off the work phone and have yourself a merry little Christmas. We’ll all get back to work next year. From all of us at Clockwise to you and yours, we hope the festive season is the best yet and see you in 2022, recharged, revitalised and ready to go.

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