nearly Why and the way we shut the buffer for the final week of the 12 months
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I’ve been fortunate that we shut the final week of the 12 months for the final seven years I’ve been in Buffer. we began this at the end of 2016 and have been held yearly since.
The closing of the final week of the 12 months is a chance to take a break and recharge. It is like a reboot, aside from your entire firm. I really like telling individuals about this apply at Buffer as a result of they’ve lots of questions on how we proceed to function whereas we’re closed for every week.
As we work with many small companies and creators who can typically discover it tough to work over the vacations, it feels particularly necessary to share how we’re doing.
So, on this put up, I am going to cowl what it means to close down for every week as a enterprise whose prospects at all times use it, why we do it, and particularly how our largest groups handle this time without work whereas taking good care of our product and our prospects.
Let’s dive in!
What does it imply to shut for every week?
On the finish of every 12 months, we shut for the final week of the 12 months. The precise definition of “closed” varies from enterprise to enterprise: some companies will shut down operations completely, whereas others will solely shut down particular sections of their enterprise.
This offers everybody within the firm extra time to relaxation and creates an setting the place nobody worries about lacking tasks or updates whereas offline as a result of we’re all offline. We have executed this sort of factor earlier than, closing for an additional lengthy weekend in the summertime, and it is at all times been refreshing for our workforce.
Once I say we’re closed, which means a lot of the firm is shut down (I am going to clarify within the subsequent part), we’re not releasing any new options or altering our product in any respect, we’re not posting a brand new weblog. posts, and it’s deliberately a time of relaxation.
In our enterprise, constructing instruments for small companies and creators constructing a model on-line, this time of 12 months can be sluggish. So not like different industries that may choose up over the vacations, we are able to take a break by shutting down the corporate throughout a naturally slower interval.
What does this seem like in apply?
For many Buffer groups, the holiday shutdown means full shutdown. Our two largest groups, Engineering and Buyer Advocacy, need to create techniques the place we are able to nonetheless serve our prospects and guarantee Buffer is operational whereas creating house for added relaxation. That is how Engineering and Legislation strategy the week off.
How our Advocacy workforce handles a closed week
Our protection workforce is a bunch of absolute professionals who deal with our shoppers. This 12 months, they helped resolve greater than 60,000 buyer assist requests with a median first response time of simply three hours.
Through the years we have been shutting down, they’ve discovered the fitting stability to make sure we are able to nonetheless assist shoppers whereas giving our advocates additional relaxation.
To start with, we take steps to make this era seen to our prospects. They put up a transparent message that we’re closed for holidays on all main channels the place we talk with prospects. These embody a banner for people who find themselves on Buffer, an autoresponder to the client assist electronic mail, a pinned tweet in our account, and varied different locations.
This 12 months, the message reads:
The Buffer workforce is a enterprise closure between December 24 and January 1.
We’re nonetheless responding to buyer assist emails and messages, however it’ll take longer than regular to reply. We are going to contact you as quickly as we are able to. Blissful Holidays!
For Advocates, we ask that every individual on the workforce work one full day or two half days in that interval. We have now 21 individuals on the protection workforce and we could have two or extra individuals on-line on most days. We do not at all times have individuals on December 24 or 25, or January 1, and we’re okay with that.
The workforce has a transparent timeline, expectations when individuals are on-line about how one can prioritize their work and talk with shoppers, and tips for emergencies. (We have now these tips in place on a regular basis, nevertheless it’s at all times good to overview them earlier than the vacations.)
How our Engineering workforce handles a closed week
Much like protection, for our engineers, we have to have some cowl from engineers who’re on name in case one thing occurs.
For Engineering, their break seems totally different as a result of they’re on name, which implies they’re accessible if one thing goes fallacious, somewhat than being absolutely on-line throughout this time. Meaning the burden of being on name could be unfold throughout fewer individuals as a result of they’re much less more likely to have to be on-line.
The way in which the on-call schedule works is that there are a number of specialised or senior members of the workforce which are instantly positioned in any respect on-call areas. We then ask for volunteers from the remainder of the engineering workforce to be on name for your entire week.
Along with having individuals on name, we additionally freeze the code earlier than the tip of the 12 months. This merely means that we are going to cease sending new code and making adjustments to Buffer. The objective of that is to extend our confidence that issues will work out for the engineers on name and our protection workforce.
Some questions from our neighborhood in regards to the closure for every week
We reached out on social media to see what questions individuals had in regards to the shutdown for every week, and we received some good questions. Right here is our reply:
Do prospects discover this irritating or do they ever complain?
We have not heard any main complaints or frustrations about this up to now, and if issues ever do not go as deliberate, we have adjusted our plan for the next 12 months. We made positive to be very clear that we’re taking this time without work throughout all of our communication channels. We nonetheless have our Advocacy workforce spending a while on-line and may reply to something pressing.
Did this have any influence in your outcomes?
No, we deliberately selected a sluggish time to shut. So it is the fitting time to take a break with out main influence. Additionally, because the Advocacy workforce remains to be monitoring pressing buyer requests and the Engineering workforce is on name, we’re nonetheless in a position to tackle any points that come up and our prospects nonetheless have assist.
I’d love to listen to about the advantages your organization has seen and the way it positively impacts workers!
The largest profit we have seen from the vacation closure is that our workforce is extra rested and refreshed. It is a distinctive alternative for everybody at Buffer to take a break, somewhat than it occurring in locations all year long. It implies that vitality ranges within the first weeks of the 12 months are at all times very excessive for us. Taking this week off for everybody directly additionally provides us a higher probability to calm down as a result of nobody wants to consider tasks which are shifting ahead with out them or dropping workforce communication. In spite of everything, we’re all disconnected. That is nice for us as a workforce, which interprets to being nice for our product and our prospects.
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