painting in living room - family photoExecutives at a Minneapolis advertising agency founded 7 years ago, decided to give each of their 18 employees a free summer. Each was given paid leave and full benefits for 12 weeks to do something meaningful.

“I think people were stunned more than anything else,” says Stuart D’Rozario, the president and creative director of Barrie, D’Rozario, Murphy, who first had the idea.

Summer is traditionally a slow time for the company and BDM’s existing clients would still be serviced. But the agency would delay efforts to attract new business until the 500-hour experiment was complete.

The opportunity was even offered to the company’s loyal freelancers. They were hired for 100 hours and then given back that time to pursue their passion.

Employees spent the summer making music, putting paint to canvas, creating a cookbook and playing with their kids. One BDM employee even invented a hands-free dog leash he hopes to market.

The 500 hours wrapped up the first week of August and commerce resumed. Executives hope the company will be improved from the experience.

(WATCH the video below or READ the Boyd Huppert story from KARE-11)


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