Closing for Family Holidays is Good for Business and Employees

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Closing the business for family related holidays may seem like a painful sacrifice when done simply for the wellbeing of your employees but it is a gift that gives back to the business in more ways than monetary returns. It is counter intuitive to give up on sales when most people are shopping, but businesses must learn that counterintuitive logic sometimes is the right logic. Closing the business may anger some customers and may even lose some customers permanently but after a few years customers will adjust their buying pattern to accommodate your schedule. The goodwill you will create in the hearts of your employees will not be lost on your loyal customers who may be inconvenience but also admire the care you have for your employees and your strong family value!

Already many large brands are adopting this very important policy for their employees. Some like the TJX companies have publicly stated it is for the wellbeing of their employees. Others may not have said so publically but it makes no business sense for them to close on those very busy days other than for their employees. Stores like Toys-R-Us, Gamestop, Dillards, and the TJX Companies; which count Christmas shopping as one of the most important shopping seasons, have still elected to put their employees first and close on Thanksgiving, the most family holiday in America. If top 100 retailers like these can put their employee first and still make profits for the season why can’t other businesses?

Putting family first is a practice that more and more businesses are understanding, but not enough yet. Businesses must realize that the goodwill of their employee gets recharged when they can have the joy of family celebrations in peace. This goodwill can pay back in spades as their happiness will infect customers when they see the joy in them. It will motivate them to promote the business more and it will lead to better sales in the long run. Closing the business loses one day of sales but gains greater respect from employees and many customers alike.

Banks have been closing even on minor holidays since the beginning of banking and even during shopping days when they are needed the most. People have not stopped banking and will not stop banking. Although they do it for a very different reason, they are a good example to businesses because if all businesses put family first, they will continue doing business and people will adapt just as they have with the banking industry. However, closing the business for the benefit of the employees will create a much happier employee base and eventually it will pay off in more than direct profits, it will pay off in goodwill, pride, promotion, honesty, and many more intangibles that eventually funnel back to profits!

Although this piece has only addressed retail businesses, as a principle it applies to all businesses and all businesses should promote family value first and find that the work-family atmosphere of yesterday can still work today. With the advent of social networks that family atmosphere can infect more customers than ever and pay back even more. Executives tend to think of family last and business first, but they can take lessons from Silicon Valley that understand that the greatest value of their business is their employees and their happiness should be encouraged, one easy way to do so is by closing for family holidays!

Merry Christmas for those that celebrate this special (now mostly secular) day. For the many that do not celebrate Christmas; remember that Christmas is less about religion than the ideal of giving and receiving goodwill so happy goodwill to all!

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