Several Irish shops, pubs and cafés have closed temporarily over August in order to shut off their business brain and take a break.
Already a practice in some European countries, many Irish businessowners let their customers know they would be taking a few weeks off in August.
Speaking to Reporter Sarah Madden on Newstalk Breakfast, Liberty Papers Owners Paul and Sheila Barnes closed up shop for three weeks.
“You can just close your thinking on [work],” Mr Barnes said.
“That takes about a week to do, then you can just really chill and then you come back revived and ready.
“We're busy during the year, we work hard [but] you can't do that all year.”
Ms Barnes said their three-week holiday gave themselves and staff the chance to switch off.
“People really get the full chance to shut off and everyone is in the same boat,” she said.
“Everyone has that switch-off.”
Conway’s Owner Stephen Pile closed the pub for 10 days and wishes he could take even more time to himself.
“I wanted to get a better work-life balance,” he said.
Mr Pile said the COVID-19 lockdowns have probably instilled a deeper need for rest and breaks in many people.
“Suddenly I found myself with a lot of free time, a lot of time at home, which I wasn’t used to and I loved it,” he said.
The only concern Mr Pile had was his customers’ reactions to his closure – but they were more open–minded than expected.
“Admiration would be too strong a word, but they were very agreeable,” he said.
“I told about 90 regulars [we were closing] … I got response from half of them which was either a thumbs up or a ‘well done’ or a ‘see you in a couple weeks’.”
Ms Barnes agreed lockdowns have made people more open to the need for long holidays.
“I think people got used to working from home and working differently,” she said.
“We always get lovely messages back saying have a lovely holiday, you deserve the break.”
'We all just accept it'
HR Expert Caroline Reidy said customers are also typically on their own holidays in August, so there’s not as much demand for businesses at home.
While there are some “disadvantages” closures might have on consumers, and an official August holiday might be difficult to regulate, Ms Reidy said Irish people are definitely open to the change.
“Think about when you're on holiday and the siesta sign is on the [business’] door that they’re closed from 2pm to 4pm, we all just accept it,” she said.
“I don’t think it’s so completely far removed.”