It’s Thursday so let’s go skiing

I was recently at a two day conference in which I met various managers from a very large IT company, and I had the opportunity to talk about and how we work. March is full ski season for us in Valtellina so, naturally, we got talking about our traditional “ski Thursday”, the day of the week in which we swap the office for the slopes.

The reaction was mostly shock and disbelief, disguised behind faked interest and a few smiles. But why not spend Thursdays on the slopes? Here’s what a typical ski Thursday looks like, and why it’s not a time waster, but a time gainer.

“The day started with lots of laughter and a few runs with my colleagues on the still empty slopes. The fresh cold air and beautiful view put us all in a relaxed and focused mindset.

Then it was time to work, so I sat on a wooden bench at a large wooden table inside the refuge, completely undisturbed. The only sounds were a distant chatter from the other side of the large room and some music. It was very peaceful and the view, whenever I looked out of the window, was breathtaking: snowy peaks and brilliant sunshine.

I worked for three hours straight without ever needing a break, I was very focused and I completed the tasks that would have taken me most of the day to finish in the office.

At lunchtime we all sat down and had a nice meal together. Then we hit the slopes again and spent a few fun hours skiing and chatting about things unrelated to work. Back inside, we all worked for a few more hours, still focused and productive.

The day ended with a snack, a last ski down the thrilling black run and a drink all together.”

Me and some of my colleagues skiing on a Thursday

On this Thursday, like many others, I spent less hours than usual on my mac and produced more than I do nine hours in the office.  I was also more focused and relaxed and felt I’d got more out of the day, which included valuable social time and a bit of exercise as well as being a pleasure to the eyes and mind to work at 1800 m.

So why does everyone think the office is the only place in which an employee can work and bring value to the company? Personally, I think it’s time to “break” this old way of thinking, and realise that it’s not all about control. There’s no need to have a boss breathing down your neck to be productive. There’s no need to divide work and other activities so strictly. The only way people take advantage of greater freedom in the workplace is by being more focused and productive, and that’s no bad thing. On a ski Thursday no one goes skiing instead of working. But everyone goes skiing AND working together, mixing work, social activities and exercise.

It would be nice if the freedom we have in could be shared by other companies too, could become normal. We would all be that little bit happier and little less stressed in our lives.

Creative solutions are not always born in the office

Team skis on Thursdays in Valgerola and works from Rifugio Salmurano. Thanks for having us sitting around all day!


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