How do you recognize holidays on a distributed team? It’s not uncommon for team members in various countries, states, and cities to have holidays unique to them. Which of these holidays should your remote company observe?
It’s not uncommon for remote workers, whether digital nomads or native homebodies, to wonder when it’s okay for them to take the day off. Choosing exactly which holidays for your team to observe on a distributed team can get complicated. The more time zones you cover, the more potential holidays are up for grabs.
We think it’s up to each company to decide exactly how to handle holidays and time off. Here are two ideas for consideration.
1. Create a canonical calendar and stick to it.
Some distributed companies choose a canonical time zone which they consider to be company headquarters, and this can often become the company’s canonical location.
You figure this out by determining where in the world your employees are located. If twenty people are located in Boston, it might make sense to choose Boston as your canonical location and Eastern Time as the time zone. Other times, the canonical location is where the CEO or leadership team is located.
Using this time zone as the place to determine holidays for your team can work, especially if most of your team members live in the same country where holidays are likely similar.
Note: This approach may not work as well for a globally distributed company.
2. Choose a flexible time off policy.
If you want to take all the guesswork away from those nebulous holidays, you can lump all time off together. This policy helps remote workers understand how many days they can take off per year. It creates a bit of slack in the system for people needing a day off and lets people take holidays that fall outside company-observed holidays.
For example, some companies choose to combine vacation days with sick days to give remote employees a specific number of days off they can take per year, in addition to their company-observed holidays.
This approach can come across as controversial, but it means employees don’t get into the position of “being sick” the day after Thanksgiving. It avoids the faking of feeling sick to take a day off. And, it gives employees permission to observe a local or religious holiday that is meaningful to them.
The Takeaway: Clearly communicate your holiday calendar and your flextime policies for remote works. Allow them to choose their own holidays and time to take off, which will keep your employees happy and your company culture healthy.
What’s your take? How does your team handle holidays at your remote company? Tweet us @yonder_io with your ideas or comment below!