The “most wonderful time of the year” comes with its fair share of challenges. While it’s a great time for fun with family and friends, favorite traditions, and giving, the holiday season can also generate stress and cause possible financial burden. Luckily for IT pros, flexible hours and remote working capabilities can help to combat nearly all of these challenges, allowing time at home with family without having to use PTO or unpaid hours. But the question and problem facing IT companies and employers with IT departments is this: while its employees are working remotely, how should the company proceed with business?
Oracle’s Shut Down Controversy
The idea of company-shutdowns has gained recent attention in the IT world as a result of Oracle’s plans to close down between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Business Insider explains that while company closes have been popular amongst tech companies especially, Oracle’s choice to mandate the time off as vacation time is unique, and is a decision that has upset many of the company’s employees. However, the article also points out that despite Oracle’s loss in revenue this year (down 10 million from 2014) the company has not experienced layoffs, and has instead continued to grow and hire many new IT pros.
Oracle is not the first tech giant to declare a close between the two major holidays. Back in 2008, Cisco announced its plans to close down for four days over the holidays as part of a cost-cutting move. Though the announcement came as a surprise to employees, who had not experienced a mandatory Cisco closedown in over 10 years, the effort proved to be worthwhile, and since 2008 the company has undergone annual holiday shutdowns. Other companies, including Adobe Systems and Apple, while not going with a full-company closure, have found ways to cut costs by encouraging or even asking some of their employees to take extra time off at the end of the year.
Enforced Time Off May Be Just What IT Pros Need
While the company profit is apparent, mandated closes have many benefits to offer employees that should not be overlooked. A new study revealed that over 40 percent of US workers did not use all of their paid time off in 2014, despite the many personal and professional benefits of taking time off. Some suggest that mandated closes are a way to ensure employees take this time, and, moreover, to see that unused vacation time does not go to waste.
And the necessity for time off is not limited to traditional IT employees. IT contract workers, entrepreneurs, and small-business owners, all of whom are even less likely to take time off, are particularly encouraged to take advantage of time off during the holiday season. These individuals may worry about falling behind, losing an edge, or perhaps their biggest worry: losing money when they take time off. But they cannot overlook the importance of rejuvenating their minds and bodies while on a vacation. Taking time off while your teammates or supervisors are less likely to be available will ensure that you get some much-needed rest, without missing a beat professionally. Perhaps rather than real “time off” the best option for these professionals is to take advantage of their flexible schedules, and work more at the beginning of December so that they can unplug during the holiday season.
For more information about the employee benefits to mandated holiday closes, check out our InfoGraphic below: