Let's face it, productivity at the office declines around the holidays. The reasons are pretty obvious. Many people take vacation during that time. For those still around, the fact that people are out slows them down because a missing person's feedback/opinion/approval is needed. Also, there are parties, days off, etc. So, at my new company, we decided to just shut down the office between Christmas and New Years. The way the calendar worked this year, that resulted in 11 days off. And we still paid our employees during that time.
This was a good move for us for a few reasons:
- People usually don't take enough vacation. By having a forced shutdown, everyone had to take a vacation. For some, they visited far away family for the holidays. Others had a pleasant staycation.
- We support our corporate culture of caring about our employees by ensuring they get some needed time away from the office.
- By setting the schedule in advance, everyone was able to fit their vacation plans into the schedule. So we were all out of the office at the same time. We avoided the overlapping vacation schedules which adds to the confusion of the holiday time. So, more importantly, we were all in the office during the same times. Today, everyone was in the office again. We all picked up work from the same point. We did not need to bring some people up to speed because we had all left and returned at the same time.
The holiday office shut down worked well for us in its first year. We'll be doing the same thing next holiday and plan to make it a permanent part of our culture.