The busiest time of the year for eCommerce is officially here. The weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas are critical for many retailers and businesses, including Bolt, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday being our biggest days of the year. The Bolt team prepares all year long for the next several weeks!
With so much on the line, how do Bolt’s teams plan to manage our time and still experiment with a four-day workweek during our busiest season? What are some of our solutions to navigating this uber-busy period for our team while ensuring we all have time to rest and recharge?
In short, our answer is that even though the four-day workweek experiment has been our norm these past few months, there are going to be times when everyone needs to rally, and prioritize working beyond their normal hours.
In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, our Engineering team, as well as our Customer Experience, Risk, and Support teams, are all-hands-on-deck onboarding merchants, answering last minute questions, and perfecting our checkout experience. It’s critical that our team be able to address customers’ needs quickly, but also push forward any work that needs to be completed before the holiday rush. This means Bolters need to act like founders — keeping communication lines open with stakeholders, holding themselves and others accountable, escalating issues when needed and readily stepping up and taking responsibility even outside of their immediate domain.
For many of our teams, our busiest season signals the need to be all hands on deck. That means working overtime when needed and being “on call” throughout the holidays.
Bolt’s Support Team implements a “lightning month” for the last three weeks of November and first week of December in order to prepare for Black Friday and beyond. A lightning month means that their team works five days a week to address customer questions and needs before the holiday season begins.
Once Thanksgiving hits, the team is all hands on deck seven days a week. The Support team doubles up on coverage for our busiest days (what they call “Red Days”) with the rest of the team on standby to be called in. Being “on call” on Red Days means you’re contactable, can get to a computer within 30 minutes and in a reasonable state of mind to be productive.
“There hasn’t been any pushback [from the team] – everyone understands the importance of this period for an eCommerce company. I had to make a small change to my normal vacation plans. The only change is I’ll be working remotely during Thanksgiving week and weekend. But I am confident with the team we’ve built and the Conscious decision by Bolt to properly resource the Support function, I’ll be able to enjoy my time off, as well.” – Director of Support, Kincy Clark
At Bolt, we believe in “being 100% in while you’re at work, so you can be 100% out when you’re not.”
During the holiday season, our teams know that this is our time to shine. It’s the time to buckle down, and make sure to be available to help out as much as possible, i.e. be 100% in.
The team is also aware that vacation time during the holiday season (Thanksgiving week to the week before Christmas) is hard to come by. Thanks to our Remote First office policy, the whole team is allowed to travel and be with friends and family during the holiday season, but time off requests for anything more than a day or two are heavily scrutinized.
However, we balance this by encouraging the team to take time off as soon as we’re past the holiday rush. In fact, we keep a close eye on the entire team to make sure everyone takes some well-deserved time off. And, while they are off, we take pains to ensure they are 100% offline by not looping them in or reaching out unless it is an absolute emergency.
Finally, another way Bolt goes above and beyond to recognize our team members for excellent work is through our spot bonus program.
Its purpose is to recognize and thank individuals for putting significant effort outside of their “normal” work hours or to recognize an individual who puts in a massive amount of extra effort during normal hours.
This is not meant to be an overtime program, nor is it meant to normalize working nights and weekends and reward long hours. Instead, the program is meant to acknowledge and thank individuals for contributing their personal time.
For our customer and tech-facing teams, the holiday season is a sprint. These teams do their best to take part in Bolt’s four-day workweek realizing that some weeks may require more due to the nature of our business. Most businesses have “busy seasons” at some point throughout their year. But this doesn’t mean that Bolt expects that level of “all in” engagement during other times of the year when we can prioritize working four days.
Ultimately, the four-day work week (like a Conscious Culture) is about balance — balancing hard work and execution, with the need to step back and recharge. In a Conscious Culture, we believe you can (and should) have both.