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Bursts of Color - Holiday Schedules

It's the most wonderful time of the year... when you and your team are likely looking forward to some
Bursts of Color - Holiday Schedules
By Geoff Donaker • Issue #34 • View online
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… when you and your team are likely looking forward to some well-earned holiday downtime.

An apple pie masterpiece from my then-ten-year-old chef
An apple pie masterpiece from my then-ten-year-old chef
If Your Company’s Holiday Schedule Isn’t Clear
…folks may have divergent assumptions that cause stress and ill will. An extreme example I’ve seen: one co-founder worked every day during Thanksgiving week and only paused for turkey on Thursday; the other co-founder went completely off-the-grid for the full week. They each thought they were doing the “obvious” thing and barely discussed it beforehand, which left them both ticked off and the remaining team members bewildered about what’s okay.
It Doesn’t Matter What The Policy Is
There is no single right answer on this stuff. For some start-ups, the right answer is to shut down completely for Thanksgiving Week. For others, it’s better to keep grinding and just take Thursday off. The important thing is simply to have a point of view and to communicate it crisply to the team. I believe this clarity will be even more important in 2020’s remote world, when the boundary between work and home hours is often muddy.
Some Default Suggestions for 2020
If you have not yet nailed down a holiday schedule for this year, here is a starter proposal:
  • Thanksgiving Break from November 26-29
  • Year-End Break from December 24 - January 3
  • No Slack/Email/etc expected during these windows
More on Vacation Policies
While you’re at it, now may be a good time to clarify your overall PTO policy. I wrote more about this last year in A Default Vacation Policy for Start-Ups. One caveat: historically I didn’t much like “unlimited” PTO policies, but the world is different now. If I were creating a new start-up PTO policy in 2020, I would choose unlimited and then try to mitigate the downside by setting clear expectations around norms for when and how to request time off.
PS, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
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Geoff Donaker

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