17 Entrepreneurs Share Their Christmas Work Hours

December 18, 2014

12:30 pm

On Thanksgiving, we confirmed the fact that entrepreneurs are work addicts and love to check their email between bites of turkey. But is the same thing true of Christmas? Is nothing sacred in this world?

Not quite. When I asked entrepreneurs whether they’d be working on Christmas and Christmas Eve, I got a whole lot more nos than I did around Thanksgiving. Still, most people do plan to put in some time – whether it’s email, a few phone calls, or a quiet hour or two after everyone goes to bed.

Below, 17 entrepreneurs share their Christmas work hours. Are you working on Christmas, and do you feel strongly one way or the other?

Not working

“This year I’m actually disconnecting from work on both days to play with the best present I’ve ever received: my one-year old.”

– Slaven Radic, cofounder and CEO of Tapstream

“I will be working on not working for 24 hours. Balance is key in this journey of making a real dent in the world.”

– Rodolfo Saccoman, founder and CEO of AdMobilize

“None. Zero. I cofounded a wellness business, so it’s important that I live what I teach. The people I love deserve my attention on the holiday. And I hustle the vast majority of the days in the year, so it’s good for my wellbeing. Which also helps me recharge for when I’m in ‘kill it mode’ come the new year.”

– Sarah Jacobs, cofounder of The Wellness Project NYC

“None. That’s time that should be spent with your loved ones. Business-related stuff can wait till after Christmas, and it’ll be fine.”

– Pavan Bapu, cofounder and CEO of Gramovox

“Even as the CEO and founder of FlexJobs, I will NOT be working on Christmas Eve or Christmas. The mission of my company is to help people find jobs that offer work-life balance through flexible work options, and our whole team tries to practice what we preach. That means that, even as the CEO, I plan to take time off for the holidays, spend quality time with my kids, husband, and family, and keep the work to a minimum. I also want to set an example, both for my staff and for our clients, that work-life balance is important and achievable at any level of your career.”

– Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs

Email only

“Christmas Eve will likely be a full day’s work and Christmas will surely be spent checking my phone in between giving/getting presents and eating too much. The trick is to do it while no one is looking.”

– Darren MacDonald, CEO and founder of Ingress Capital

“This year, I’m traveling over that time period so I am hoping to be fully unplugged. Of course, I’m sure I’ll still spend an hour or two going through my emails, but after that – I’ll be spending the holidays relaxing on a beach.”

– Nick Gidwani, president and founder of SkilledUp

Christmas Eve only

“We’re a self-funded company, and two of our cofounders still have day jobs. The Christmas/New Year’s break will be a good time for us to catch up on product development backlog and to collaborate because we do not have to report to our day jobs. We will be taking off Christmas day, but will be full steam ahead all of the other days.”

– Bryan Clayton, cofounder and CEO of GreenPal

“I’ll probably just do something early Christmas Eve, catch up on emails, call a few friends. This is not the time to be looking for leads, it’s a time of peace and rest.”

– Rachel Maxwell, CEO of Maxwell Biometrics

Just a bit

“Working Christmas Eve and taking off Christmas Day with my four-year-old and the rest of the family. Will likely take the occasional call on Christmas given that Q4 is the largest quarter for us, but nothing too stressful.”

– Jeetu Patel, general manager of EMC Syncplicity

“I know it’s a cliche, but I will be performing the requisite Jewish Christmas ritual of a movie and Chinese food. I generally work until about 6 pm Christmas Eve, then spend time with family and friends the rest of that night. On Christmas Day, I’ll be taking the day off, but like all good entrepreneurs, if there are any customer support issues that arise, I’ll be manning the email and phone help desk as well. I’d estimate I will probably work ‘only’ 12-15 hours between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.”

– Cynthia Schames, CEO of AbbeyPost

“I’m a night owl so probably working after the Xmas party, ha ha.”

– Richard Kirkendall, founder and CEO of Namecheap

“Well, Christmas is not as big in China as in Europe or the US. Normally, the people here work normal hours on both Christmas Eve and Christmas. But sometimes employees here get a half-day off on both days, to let those who do celebrate Christmas prepare for the evening and have an extra few hours of sleep the next morning. I think that’s what we will be doing as well.”

– Pavel Liser of Vibin Technologies, creator of PhotoNotes

“In between eating far too much turkey, opening presents, and spending time with family, I’ll be working with my team to ensure that we are answering questions from students and their families. We are used in over 140 countries and for most of them, the 25th of December is just another day when they need support. For us, we want to make sure that we are there for them regardless of which day of the year it is.”

– Stephen Parkes, cofounder and director of Go Enrol

Normal day

“Working in an Israeli startup has its advantages on Christmas! Here in Israel, Christmas is a regular workday – and while it may be downtime in the US and Europe, we use the time for planning and strategizing so we can start strong in the new year.”

– Marni Mandell, head of business development at Roojoom

“Zest Tea is often given as a gift, so the Christmas season is hectic. I plan on dealing with a wave of support issues on Christmas, as new people try our product for the first time. My usual schedule is 9 am-1 am, but I assume I’ll be up much later on Christmas.”

– James Fayal, founder and CEO of Zest Tea

“What hours is an entrepreneur not working? I will likely be working at different times on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We have deadlines to hit for our clients, it is my responsibility that they get achieved. Hohoho.”

– Blake Denman, CEO of RicketyRoo

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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