Company shutdowns

I’ve been fortunate to work in two companies with “shutdown” weeks. In both cases, the last week of the year was off for every employee. Aside from places where staying open is mission critical (e.g. in a hospital), giving employees the last week of the year off feels like a relative no brainer.

LinkedIn adds an extra week off in the US during the first week of July (week of the American Independence day). That extra week is very special as it makes for a perfectly timed mid-year break.

Company shutdowns, to me, are a more valuable perk than an equivalent amount of vacation time. That’s because they remove any incentive you might have to pick up your phone and check your email or other communication channels. When you know everybody’s off, you also know there is no incoming work awaiting your attention. That, in turn, means you can take a complete break and just reset.

There has been increasing global awareness on the importance of taking breaks and getting rest. Restful holidays are a big part of that. So, if you’re in a position or place where you can shape vacation policy, I hope you’ll experiment with a company-wide shutdown.

They work.