One of my favorite days of the year is Christmas Day. It’s a day I don’t do any work. Instead, I read a book and eat chocolate.
On many other holidays, though, I still do some work — even if I don’t need to. A good company holiday policy is an important part of making sure that you don’t burn out. You also don’t want your employees to burn out.
Taking Time Off for Holidays
Identifying holidays to take off is an important part of being a startup. You want a holiday policy that allows your workers to enjoy time off that they can spend with their families. One of the things I appreciate it working for a company that takes off the whole week between Chrismas Day and New Year’s Day.
On top of that, the company takes off every federally observed holiday. That allows for some solid time off that often coincides with my son’s school holidays.
Consider your own company’s needs. Your holiday policy should realistically reflect the ability of your business to function even if your workers aren’t present. For some businesses, that can mean automating some functions and working ahead. Other businesses, though, might not be able to operate entirely without workers. While a retail store might close on some holidays, it’s not practical to be closed the week between Christmas and New Year, or to be closed on some holidays, like President’s Day.
Your Holiday Policy When Employees Have to Work
If your employees need to work during holidays, it’s important to try and approach it as fairly as possible. This could include setting up a rotating schedule so that employees take turns working.
You can also ask for volunteers and offer to pay them more. I have some friends who choose to work on holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving because they get time and a half — or even double pay — when they work holidays. Provide an incentive that compensates workers fairly for the necessity of missing valuable family holiday time.
If you have enough people willing to work that you can pick and choose, your holiday policy will need to include some way of letting everyone have an opportunity to work. You might need a lottery system that takes into account who has already worked a holiday for extra pay.
Your Own Holiday Policy as an Entrepreneur
Don’t forget to consider your own personal holiday policy. Even if you don’t have to work, it’s tempting to sneak away to do a few things on a holiday. Don’t. Time off from your work is important. The fact that it’s a holiday and likely to be slow anyway gives you a chance to recharge. It’s also a chance for you to build relationships with your loved ones.
Carefully think about your situation, and whether or not you really need to be working. Part of being successful is understanding when it’s time to step back and take a break. A holiday might be just what you need to keep your business on the right track.