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The week between Christmas and New Years

Pragya Tandon's Profile

We are a small company and I am hoping to present this idea to the Executive team. I would propose shutting down he office the week between Christmas and New Years. Of course, we'll need to make sure client deadlines are met by Friday, December 23rd. We will set goals for the month and use this as an incentive. Work hard, Play hard!

My primary goal from this is to boost employee moral and have our employees know that the company cares about them and wants them to spend some time off from work without having to use up their vacation time.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this something that you have done at your companies? Did the employees appreciate it? Did they come back more energised come new year?

Thanks for your input!

Answers

Anonymous
(Director of Finance) |

I have been at one company that shut down during that week. The issue there was that some days were covered by paid holidays, and the remaining days were not, so they had to be covered by vacation days or taken unpaid. There were always employees unhappy with the situation. We even had employees make arrangements with their bosses to come in and work so that they could get paid.
If the company is going to cover those days, it would mean a revision to the Employee policy, increasing the number of paid holidays.
If you gave employees specific days off as an increase to vacation, you might have issues with people who wouldn't want to use paid days off at this time and would rather bank them for future use.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

"My primary goal from this is to boost employee moral and have our employees know that the company cares about them and wants them to spend some time off from work without having to use up their vacation time."

If that is your goal, then I would suggest that if you do close the office at that time:
1. you do not decrease pay for anyone
2. you do not require them to take vacation time.
3. you update to make your policy clear that the extra PTO may be withdrawn if the customer expectations for service or your level of business (or simply a timely management decision) mean that you no longer can offer this.

And, what about conducting an employee survey first? Radical thought, I know, but why not discuss it? No point in offering something that may have less value than you think it has. :)

Pragya Tandon
Title: Director of Finance
Company: ClearVoice, Inc.
(Director of Finance, ClearVoice, Inc.) |

Brilliant idea on the survey! Surprised I didn't think about it in the first place! And yes, we were going to pay them for it without them using their PTO.

Pragya Tandon
Title: Director of Finance
Company: ClearVoice, Inc.
(Director of Finance, ClearVoice, Inc.) |

Thanks everyone for your input. I'll go the survey route and see where we land. Have a great week!

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

In some of the industries I've worked in this was proforma. It was great from both morale and you knew everyone was off (so if you wanted to do some audit/forensic work, it was ideal).

I also agree with Len's 3 points.

However, then came the pain of the depression and the old separate but not equal objections were started in some firms by management (specifically everyone but accounting was given the week off, since the EOY was upon them). That caused dejection and low morale in the accounting staffs that was never corrected or remedied until new management came in and reversed themselves (and even then it was never the same).

Ken Stumder
Title: Finance Director / Controller
Company: Ken Stumder, CPA
(Finance Director / Controller, Ken Stumder, CPA) |

One of my former employees shut down during that period. It was a tremendous benefit and was minimally disruptive given our business model. Prospects and clients were usually gone during that time of year anyway + internally a good portion of the workforce was taking leave. I personally advocate for it if that week is not a peak operational period.

Pragya Tandon
Title: Director of Finance
Company: ClearVoice, Inc.
(Director of Finance, ClearVoice, Inc.) |

One more question: How about we propose that employees take 1 PTO day and the remaining 3 days are on the company? Basically a combination of PTO and company paid holiday?

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Depends on how you explain it to the team.
It indicates a shared contribution to the benefit.
If you ever reverse the policy in the future, it means staff get back 1 day PTO to use at another time of their choice.
And finally, model this out for all scenarios, i.e. when Christmas falls on a
Sat - this is what happens...
Sun- etc, etc.
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri

Remember that the month ends (New Year, etc) the next week, what holidays and vacations apply that week?

Pragya Tandon
Title: Director of Finance
Company: ClearVoice, Inc.
(Director of Finance, ClearVoice, Inc.) |

Interesting perspective, Len! Can we not make this a one-time benefit just for this holiday season? I was hoping to make this an incentive as goals are met later in the year. Is that not doable?

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

You can make it a one time benefit, but it is tied to a recurring event. So figure out how you explain that it does not apply in 2017 and and why.

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