Closing your business during the holiday season may feel like a bit of a leap, but for some organizations, it's a great opportunity to re-energize your team, take a breather, and boost morale for the new year. Of course, closing doesn't work for every type of organization--but if you're considering it, here are five reasons why it can be a smart decision for your culture and your business.
1) The holiday season is your slowest time. This is a pre-requisite. If the holiday season is not your slowest time, stop reading. But if it is, then the potential benefits of giving your team some time off can far outweigh the minimal financial risk you assume in closing for a short period.
2) Concentrate time off. If the holidays are a slow time for your business, then it's a great time to concentrate your team's time off so that they're more likely to be in the office when you're busy. Someone who might typically take off the second or third week of January may think twice when they've just had a week off in December. Having your team together in the office following the holiday season is a great way to kick off the new year on a high note and build unity.
3) It's a wonderful gift to your team. There is something very morale-building about being told to take the week off--to enjoy the gift of time with friends and family during a special time of year. Moreover, it relieves the stress of having to put a dent in the PTO bank to spend time with visiting friends and family--or travel for the holidays. Closing for the week as a gift to your team relieves the stress of choosing the holidays or a vacation later in the new year.
4) Your team gets a unique opportunity to really disconnect. When everyone stops working, no one is emailing. That is a true vacation. Whenever someone is working and emailing the team, others may feel compelled to watch email and check in, regardless of whether they would be needed. By closing down and requiring your team to step away from work for the week, you give them the freedom to disconnect in a way that isn't otherwise possible. Added bonus: it's a great recruiting tool. Potential employees will see it as an indicator of how much you value your team.
5) Start the new year fresh. After a full week with no emails and no deadlines, your team will come back to work in January ready to dive in and attack the new year. Be thoughtful and deliberate about how you want to kick it off; with everyone having spent time away from each other, there's sure to be lots of storytelling first thing in the morning. Bring in bagels and coffee and encourage your employees to start the day by reconnecting on a personal level. Follow up with a thirty-minute meeting to reconnect to the business and get everyone on the same page, and you're on your way to a buzzing new year.
If the holidays are a busy time for your company, consider when you have your own slow period--and the same ideas apply. Anytime you can give your team the gift of a few days or a week away from the responsibilities and stress of work--as a team--you will see these same benefits: It will strengthen their bond to your organization, and it provides a platform on which to live out your values and prove to your team your commitment to taking care of them. This, in turn, creates a stronger culture where employees are committed and dedicated to their work, their company, and you.