12 December 2022
Startups need to do these things before eating turkey
Be it a European Christmas where you're eating turkey, an American Thanksgiving where you're eating turkey, or some other holiday — here's a list of the essential things to remember to do before you break for the holidays.
The holidays are an unusual time of the year where the vast majority of a company will be offline, and yet the internet continues to chug along, and as such although you may see significant reduced product usage, you'll probably still see some.
For example at Journey our usage the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas are approximately 60% lower than the weeks before, and usage comes roaring back the week after.
As such it's worth spending an hour or two thinking about: what is our company doing for the holidays?
It's worth going around your entire team or company and firstly understanding just who is and is not AFK for the holidays.
Ensure that Slack, Calendars and other PTO/Availability tracking tools are updated
Most importantly, make sure everyone knows the broad strokes availability for the wider team — "the entire legal team is offline until Jan 3" is a great thing to know in advance.
Touch base with collaborators on all projects to see which of the following will happen for each project:
Wrap up project before holiday break
Continue work over the holidays (ensuring you're not blocked)
Pause work and resume first week back.
Ensure that wider stakeholders are aware of the plan for major projects. Nothing is more stressful than people expecting a project to ship before the holidays when the plan has been to pause it for a week or two.
If work will continue over the holidays, with a skeleton crew of sorts, ensure that there is a clear plan for tracking and logging that work. This makes it much easier for people to get back up to speed after the holidays.
For example at Journey we have a major project ongoing and the collaborators that will be mostly working over the holidays will be sharing Looms at the end of each week to log progress.
Patrons (customers and prospects!)
Ensure that customers are well aware of your holiday availability schedule — we post in shared Slack channels availability and if required share priority escalation channels.
Consider setting up out of office responders in Gmail - although I find these rather intrusive and prefer to simply check my inbox every few days (and setup alerts for urgent emails)
Now is also a great time to line up some form of Holiday content just to end the note on a spur of activity. We're shipping a few new features and also shipping this very blog post to break on a positive.
Few things are as fun as the build up before the holidays, with a steady stream of people happily logging off for a week or two. Enjoy and celebrate these moments!
Most importantly, if and when you're on vacation for the holidays, try really hard to resist checking out random innocuous Slack channels! I personally keep an eye on our management channels, my direct messages, and my Gmail alerts for important emails.
From everyone at Journey, happy holidays!
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