Getaway announces company closure for ‘Labor Week’ initiative

US: Health and wellness hospitality company Getaway has announced it is closing the week of Labor Day to give its entire workforce of 337 employees a full work week of rest.

From 6-10 September, Brooklyn-based Getaway will close its headquarters and all properties across the country, declaring “Labor Week” a new initiative to prioritise and protect the free time of all employees, including corporate employees and the hourly operations staff on its properties.

The company, which offers “mindful” escapes in tiny cabins nestled in nature outside of US cities, says its mission is to make space in the world for free time, and that starts with its own team. Getaway is investing nearly $1 million in its inaugural Labor Week company closure, and will ensure that all employees, including part-time hourly workers, are fully compensated during the paid week off.

A new survey commissioned by Getaway and conducted by Kelton Global revealed the importance of employees taking free time, as half [50 per cent] of all employed Americans believe that free time allows them to decompress from the stresses and pressures of their life. Two in five [40 per cent] say that having free time helps them strengthen relationships with their family, friends and romantic partners.

Despite the benefits that free time has, the majority of employed Americans [83 per cent] report that they face at least one obstacle to finding free time, such as feeling that there is something urgent that requires their attention, fear of letting their team, clients or customers down, feeling they need to work all the time to advance their career, or thinking that they are not good enough if they do not work all the time.

The survey also found that one in four employed Americans feel that even when they do take free time, like vacation, they still need to be accountable at work, and younger employees are even more likely to feel this way [Gen Z: 33 per cent, millennials: 25 per cent, Gen X: 26 per cent, Boomers: 16 per cent]. Getaway says that it is combatting this through collective rest and shutting down business operations entirely.

Getaway founder and CEO, Jon Staff, said: “Employee burnout as a result of the lack of work-life balance in our country is a problem that runs deeper than the past year, and it requires more than a one-time fix. Labor Week is not only a way to thank our teams who have been working tirelessly to keep all sides of the business running smoothly, but also a way to cement our commitment to being part of a cultural shift to better work-life balance where free time is encouraged and celebrated.

“For Getaway to be true to its mission and vision – that free time is a right, and a ritual worth protecting – we need to practise what we preach. We are taking this week to prioritise and celebrate all of our workers and the people who make our business possible,” he added.

Getaway was founded in 2015 as a result of Staff’s own work stress and burnout. Getaway’s tiny cabins were designed to be a space for undistracted time that allows guests to slow down from their busy routines, disconnect from work and technology, and reconnect to themselves and their loved ones.

With Labor Week, the company is reimagining Americans’ relationship with work, recognising the hard work that employees put in year-round deserves to be celebrated longer than one day, and encouraging all employees to honour their free time. Getaway is investing in collective rest initiatives like Labor Week and is encouraging other businesses to do the same.

The Labor Week initiative is an extension of Getaway’s ongoing commitment to providing work-life balance for employees:

  • Getaway implemented a permanent remote work policy for its HQ team to better support employees’ home lives and is encouraging employees to work in a place that inspires them and makes them happy.
  • All Getaway employees receive 20 per cent off of annual working days – the equivalent of a four-day work week.
  • As a hospitality company, committing to a standard schedule is even more nuanced, and the company recognises some employees will have to work nights, weekends and holidays to ensure a great guest experience. To balance this, Getaway offers one Friday off a month, called a ‘Getaday’, which acts like a floating holiday.
  • The company gives 20 mandatory vacation days to all full time employees which they must take annually. Research shows that people are more creative and productive when they take time off. To incentivise employees to take their days, vacation time missed is noted in performance reviews.
  • Getaway respects colleagues’ off days and hours, encouraging team members to stay offline during their off time and requiring them to set an autoresponder so they are less tempted to jump into their inbox while on vacation.

Nick Authenrieth, Northeast regional director at Getaway, said: “It’s exciting to be at the vanguard of a fast-changing culture. Having time off to look forward to is such a motivator for all of us, however we choose to spend it.

“That this luxury also applies to all of our part-time employees is totally unprecedented in most of our work lives, especially in hospitality. I am very grateful to watch Getaway continue to evolve, and always for the better,” he added.

In 2020, Getaway said that it had seen a 150 per cent increase in bookings year-on-year and nearly 100 per cent occupancy on its existing portfolio, as people looked for a way to safely travel to socially distant destinations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, Getaway announced that it had raised $41.7 million in a Series C funding round led by Certares, with continued support from existing investors. The Series C funding is helping to accelerate the development and opening of new properties, including new ‘Outposts’ [collections of tiny cabins within a two-hour drive of major cities] in the Midwest and the Southeast that opened in April 2021, and an Outpost near Seattle that will open later this year.

Getaway has 15 Outposts and more than 580 cabins located outside of AtlantaAustin, and San AntonioBostonCharlotte and RaleighChicagoCleveland and PittsburghDallasHoustonLos AngelesNashvilleNew YorkPortland, and Washington DC.