Scheduling at Black Glass

I adore shared scheduling as a tool for designing business. tl;dr At Black Glass we're synchronizing five "office closed" weeks and four mandatory (at a minimum!) weeks of PTO.

As we grow Black Glass (a consultancy  and community for CMOs), I'm going to try to share more of what we're designing and building. What follows are goals and copy-pasted text from our internal docs. Thanks to my partner Stephanie Eaddy for editing and contributing to this!

Creating and maintaining an underlying rhythm to the business

We're creating our own “time-keeping” tool to help our culture and work flourish. Without a shared, structured schedule, working life can feel chaotic and up to individual control or manipulation. We don’t want to be constantly thinking about how we set up our working days, weeks, and months – we’d rather spend that time on the work itself – so we’re using our shared calendar to remove that cognitive load from the team.

Weekly Moments

  • Monday/Friday Status & Wrap-Up
  • 1:1s up to your discretion and desire!
  • Friday afternoons: we try to keep these free from meetings so that folks can wrap-up the week or handle personal matters outside of the weekend
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday dedicated to working time, either in-synch or asynch
  • Optional coffee time Tuesday and Thursday AM: fosters moments of connectivity and culture building or just “hey, can I get a little help on this thing I’m doing over here”

Important Industry Events

These aren’t necessarily all-team events, but it’s our goal to ensure that the right folks are in attendance – based on development goals, availability, and overall business performance. The goal of our attendance here is to help everyone on the team stay as close as possible to our customer.

  • CES: January 5-8
  • Super Bowl: February 13
  • SXSW: March 11-15
  • Cannes: June 20-22
  • ANA: October 5-8
  • Advertising Week: October 18-21

Setting up structured and unstructured time to connect as a fully remote organization

The regular 9a-5p, Monday-to-Friday structure that operates around a shared physical space isn’t really an option for us. We were founded ten days before the COVID-19 pandemic, never had a physical space to call our own, and have found remote-first, semi-synchronous ways of working to be incredibly liberating and focusing. But as a very small, growing business, we are establishing regular moments where we do come together as a team to bond. There’s no substitute for time when it comes to building partnerships.

Quarterly (or so) Moments

We have identified three offsite moments for 2022, with locations TBD. Each is currently planned for a Monday-Wednesday timeframe, with Wednesday designed for wrap-up and travel home.

Offsite & Mission Recalibration

  • April 11-13
  • August 8-10
  • November 14-16

Monthly Moments

  • Genius Bars – First Tuesday, for technology upskilling
  • Happy Hours – Usually Second Thursday, for celebrating and connecting
  • Lunch'n'Learns – Usually Second Friday (replacing normal All-Team), for...learning. And lunch
  • Mission Share-Outs – Usually Last Thursday, for evaluating progress

Building rest and recuperation into the core of how we work

Even with some strong tailwinds (an outcome-focused culture, openness to trying new things, a clear purpose, an incredible team, the two points above, etc.), hard work is hard. And hard work requires rest. Inspired by the European model of “everyone takes August off, no questions asked,” we are closing our office periodically to make sure nobody even has to think about work, or, for that matter, turn off their notifications, for a serious amount of time each year. Further to that, we are making sure that our team sets aside time for personal time off while leaving no upper limit on time off.‌

Key All-Company Closures

We will be closed in observance of all Federal holidays, and have selected five weeks for the office to close for mandatory time away from the business. These are not considered part of our unlimited Personal Time Off (PTO). We expect any Black Glass employee to take any religious observances in addition to the Federal Holidays and Office Closed Weeks listed below. If and when Black Glass expands globally, All-Company Closures will be re-evaluated to fit with local law/custom while keeping us together as a business.

Office Closed Weeks

  • Spring: March 21-25
  • Summer: August 29-September 2
  • Fall: November 21-25
  • Winter: December 19-30

Federal Holidays

  • MLK Day: 1/17/22
  • Memorial Day: 5/30/22
  • Juneteenth: 6/20/22
  • Independence Day: 7/4/22
  • Labor Day: 9/5/22
  • Indigenous People’s Day: 10/10/22
  • Veterans Day: 11/11/22
  • Thanksgiving Day: 11/24/22
  • Christmas Day: 12/26/22

How does this work with Personal Time Off (PTO)?

Everyone is encouraged to take a minimum of four additional weeks as PTO, with no restriction on when these days/weeks are taken. It is OK to take PTO immediately before or after an Office Closed Week, and PTO can (and should!) be used for anything – not just vacation.