Here at WorkTango, we offer all eligible employees unlimited vacation. Many technology companies have a similar policy these days. But the supplemental policy we have in place to maximize employee productivity and cultivate customer success is one that you may not have seen before.
Twice a year, WorkTango officially closes our offices so the bulk of our employees can enjoy a mid-summer and holiday break
While unlimited vacation is a much-touted benefit by HR teams, it’s not perfect. Global companies based in different countries have different laws and policies that prevent paid time off from being a true one-size-fits-all approach. And numerous studies show that unlimited policies often result in employees taking less vacation days than if their organization offered a traditional, generous vacation policy.
Why should a company shut down for vacation?
As work continues to become decentralized, the boundary between where work ends and personal time begins grows increasingly fuzzy. Even for those of us who try to find a sustainable “work-life” harmony, the reality is that a lot of people, particularly knowledge workers, are often working or thinking about work seven days a week. In part they’re doing that because their colleagues are, too. This “always on” approach also exists because many employees feel there is too much that needs to get done. However, a significant body of research suggests that continued high-intensity work, without breaks, negatively impacts mental health, relationships, and quality of work.
In order to thrive, employees need time off – and they need time off that is meaningful. Here at WorkTango, we believe that one way to make time off meaningful is to have employees take time off when almost everybody else is also out of office. We know some employees still are reluctant to take vacation days for a variety of reasons, even with our unlimited vacation policy.
So to help encourage a happy and well-rested workforce, and to ensure all employees take the time they need to recharge, we are closing our doors and logging out of our work computers twice this year: from June 30 to July 5 for our WorkTango Company Summer Break, and from December 26 to December 30th for our WorkTango Company Winter Break.
How employees benefit from a company-wide vacation shutdown
When everyone at a company is off during the same days, an employee can relax knowing that they won’t come back to 756 unread emails from coworkers who continued to work while their colleague was out. I used to joke after every vacation that I had come back to the “payment phase” of my time off: a horrific first week back when you’re stuck in endless meetings, aren’t up to speed on what’s happening, and have a huge backlog of unread emails. If companies encourage all employees to sign off for the same week each year, the “payment phase” of vacation ceases to exist.
As the CEO of a company that’s focused on improving the holistic employee experience to make (work) lives better, I care deeply about our employees’ mental health and wellbeing. I also know that we have customer commitments that we need to meet. Although the intent is for all employees to take time off together, the reality of business means not every single employee will be off from June 30 to July 5. We will still have folks on our engineering teams who will be available, along with customer success, sales and support team members. A business can’t fully go from 100 to zero. However, we will provide compensatory time off during a different week for those team members.
How to time a vacation shut down
If you time your company’s week off correctly, it’s possible to sync your company office closure with a time when most of your customers are also out of office, or have lower than average activity. At WorkTango, we have a significant presence in Canada and in the US. We time our summer office closure around Canada Day and the Fourth of July. Our winter break is timed around the Christmas and New Year holidays. Many employees take time off during this week due to these holidays regardless of an official policy, as do many of our customers. Being deliberate around dates lets your company create a closure that positively rewards employees, but also minimizes the impact on customers.
How customers reap the rewards of a holiday shut down
There is a direct link between employee experience and customer satisfaction. Having engaged, well-rested and happy employees leads directly to happier and more loyal customers.
So if you receive an out-of-office from some of our team members between June 30 – July 5 this summer, just know that we’re resting up on this end to better serve you upon our return to the office! And rest assured: we’ll still have team members available to support our valued customers during our 2022 Summer Break.
– Patrick Manzo, CEO of WorkTango