Why You Should Shut Down Between Christmas and New Year’s

by Evil HR Lady on December 19, 2018

90 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. It’s an important day for most of your employees. More importantly, it’s an important day for most of your clients. Almost one-third of Americans traveled at least 50 miles between December 23rd and January 1st last year.

In other words, the office is not where your employees or your clients want to be. If you have an office-based business, it’s time to consider shutting down between Christmas and New Year’s day–with pay. (If you can’t afford to offer it as extra paid days off, your employees will resent having to take a pay cut at Christmas more than they will appreciate the time off.) Here’s why:

Your employees don’t want to be there anyway.

While some enjoy working when it’s quiet, or prefer to get out of the house when the kids are home from school, many would prefer to be at home, or at Grandma’s house. Or at the beach. Basically anywhere but the office.

To keep reading, click here: Why You Should Shut Down Between Christmas and New Year’s

And make your counter-arguments in the comments! I’m easily swayed on this.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mr Tag-You're-IT December 19, 2018 at 1:21 pm

One of my former clients is a auto manufacturer, so the Christmas-NewYear shutdown is standard company policy, rather than dealing with staffing fluctuations on the all-consuming assembly-lines. Of course, being in IT, I’m one if those who gets to “draw straws” for babysitting critical computer systems weekends, holidays, etc.

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Denise in Ohio December 19, 2018 at 1:35 pm

I’ve been on this train for a while. Productivity is almost non-existent, vendors and customers are also ghost towns, and why not give employees a little something extra? Of course, there are people, like Mr Tag-You’re-IT and payroll personnel (I used to do payroll) that have to work at least some of that, but even then, it’s much more casual if no one else is there.

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Kat December 19, 2018 at 2:32 pm

This is one of the many reasons why I plan to stay in higher ed. The almost two weeks I get between Christmas and New Year in addition to all the other holidays make it a sweet deal. I know not ever industry (healthcare) can shut down but if at all possible why not. We know American don’t take all the leave we already earn. A break is a good thing.

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Annoyed in Ohio December 19, 2018 at 5:06 pm

I have a degree in higher ed. I was laid off last year and am currently trying to claw my way back.. they understand the importance of time off! It also helps to give your brain a break and come back refreshed. Pray for me

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Kathy December 19, 2018 at 4:02 pm

Christmas shutdown is nice for families, but if a company is plans a mandatory “you must use a week of your vacation time” holiday shutdown as a money-saving step, it would be helpful to tell them well ahead. When “mandatory shutdown” is announced at Thanksgiving, as it has been in several companies I’ve been with, no one has time to make travel arrangements. Some people have used all their vacation time in summer and have none left, resulting in scoldings on performance reviews for taking time without pay. Christmas off is nice, but it’s nicer when it’s announced early.

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Elizabeth West December 19, 2018 at 5:03 pm

Yes absolutely! If you plan on traveling at the holidays, you have to buy tickets well in advance or they can be horrendously expensive. Not to mention that hotels, etc. fill up fast. You can’t wait until the last minute.

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Annoyed in Ohio December 19, 2018 at 5:04 pm

I agree offices should be shut down, I currently have to work on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas all the way through new years eve… let’s just say my plan is to not be here in the coming year…it’s ridiculous

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Elizabeth West December 19, 2018 at 5:12 pm

Most small businesses I’ve worked for don’t do this. It’s especially tough when Christmas is on a weekday. You work Christmas Eve until 5 pm and then you’re back in the office the day after. If you have to drive anywhere or fly, it’s not feasible. 🙁

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Phil December 19, 2018 at 6:16 pm

I was for many years in the record business and the entire industry down between Christmas and New Year’s with pay. It was great.

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William Corley December 19, 2018 at 7:06 pm

While this sounds great as extra time off it is costly to the business, basically a 2% increase in expense. People should schedule vacation time during this period, yes of course many businesses are only partially operating.
In our competitive business world , I have over the years thought of this “week” as “competitive advantage ” time , meaning for those working they can clean up my files, emails, project documents and close off one year and begin the new year clean. Doing this clean up all during the holiday week , sets the business up to hit the ground running in the New Year and not lose another week in the New Year due to drag from the previous year.
The holiday week is a week where for those who choose to utilize it can for the most part accomplish much more , because the pace is slower , there are less interruptions and folks can focus.
One week can easily become two or more. Vacation time is much more enjoyable during the busier times of the year.

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ScubagirlKelley December 19, 2018 at 7:08 pm

The nice thing about the company being shut down, vs taking the time as vacation time, is that you don’t have to worry about what’s going on at the office while you’re out. My company did this the last couple of years (as ADDED time off) and the employees really appreciated it.

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MD December 19, 2018 at 9:23 pm

This is great if you aren’t in accounting or payroll! I’ve always had to work over these days because people need to be paid and quarter/year end needs to be done. While it’s a great benefit to offer, remember it’s not feasible for all employees.

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MariaRose December 19, 2018 at 11:14 pm

Great idea if the business is like the article states an office based business that is typically slow at this time period. But it only works if everyone gets the time off, including IT personnel and payroll individuals, otherwise that time off, is a biased against specific jobs.
The only personnel who get to fully enjoy this time off are those who work the jobs that aren’t needed 24/7, 365. Funny how those who get all these extra paid time off also get to work less than 1500 hours yearly at high salaries.

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Another Anonymous December 21, 2018 at 3:43 am

I just wanted to take the week of Christmas as vacation, and was told we had too much work to do. I don’t work in IT or payroll. So I’m working next week, but you can guess how hard I will be working, especially since my boss IS off the whole week. #bitter

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Annoyed in Ohio December 21, 2018 at 2:03 pm

I can imagine and feel your bitterness, as our boss announced that she’s going on a trip during the period that no one is allowed to take off *hard eye roll*

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Jenny Boxer December 23, 2018 at 4:01 am

For small businesses, shutting down is expensive. If we required employees to use their vacation time, they’d be fried. As a parent, I resented schools shutting down for 3 weeks (plus a week at Thanksgiving, a spring break, and summer). “Those in education appreciate tine off.” Who doesn’t? But most Americans don’t get a fraction of the time off of those who are in that field. We can’t take 4-6 weeks off, plus summers, and suffer the additional child care cost.

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Kelly December 24, 2018 at 6:39 am

I work in higher education and because campus doesn’t completely shut down between Xmas and New Year’s, it’s up to each manager/director or department head if they want to stay open during the short week.

My boss chose to keep our area open, because she feels we will get more than a handful of public visitors. Two other areas in our division shut down last year and again this year, due to most of the staff having to travel for the holiday and not having any student workers available.

I got the week off because I had vacation I needed to use, which was intentional on my part. I wanted the time off and would have lost some of it if I hadn’t been able to use it. I’m still carrying over a decent amount into next year and probably won’t have to work the weeks of Xmas and Thanksgiving next year for the same reason. I’m pleased with that possibly happening because I’ve had to work the last several years the day before Thanksgiving and have to deal with heavier than normal traffic. I’ve also had to work the last couple years right after Xmas, so it’s going to be great getting a full week off.

My boss isn’t going to be happy when she comes back on Wednesday. She had denied another person time off after Xmas due to both staffing and because said person had gotten the time off last year. The person had gotten the two days off before Thanksgiving, so it would have been fair for the same person to get time off before Thanksgiving and after Xmas. The person wasn’t happy to say the least. My other co-worker and i tried to reason with them that staying open between Xmas and New Year’s is just for one more year and once the boss retires in summer of 2020, then we’ll likely finally close during that week. Their solution was to challenge the boss’ decision in the boss’ presence and go behind the boss’ back to the boss’ boss. I’m shocked that they didn’t get written up for insubordination.

The person put themselves as out for Wednesday and Thursday, likely without the boss’ permission, once the boss was gone on vacation last week. The person’s annual review is in less than a month, so it’s not the best time to engage in an act of insubordination.

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