Guide to PTO

Rocket.Chat strongly encourages its employees to take Paid Time Off (PTO) whenever they feel the need, whether it's to explore a new place or simply to take a break and spend time with loved ones. Understanding when it's time to rest, relax, and take care of oneself is crucial to achieving a healthy work-life balance.

What Are The Possible Reasons To Take a PTO?

There are many of them:

  • Taking a trip

  • Celebrating family and friends' birthdays

  • Personal reasons you don't want to disclose

  • Mental health moments

  • Doctor appointments

  • Off-time to take care of yourself

  • Sleeping after a tiring night (like after an important release)

  • Chasing hobbies (playing piano, learning a language, painting, cooking something)

  • Taking your pet to the vet

  • Camping

  • Maintenance on your computer/internet/something broke down and you need to fix it

  • Movie day with family/friends

  • RPG day with friends

  • Taking a long walk, enjoying nature

  • Going to the mall/park

  • Doing exercises

  • Your birthday (automatic PTO to celebrate with your loved ones!)

We can't always plan on our time off, but it's always good to plan if possible.

If you anticipate having to handle a time-consuming and exhausting personal matter tomorrow, and you know it will require a substantial effort, consider requesting PTO in advance. Additionally, the end of quarters tends to be stressful, especially for teams dealing with new releases and closing sales. Why not plan to take some days off after that challenging period, afterwards?

If you're looking for a guideline on how many days off you should take, consider taking 40 days off each year. This number takes into account vacations and excludes sick days, giving you ample time to travel or take some time off to focus on your mental well-being.

Then What Do I Need To Do If I Want To Take a PTO?

Before requesting time off work, consider why you need it. Will it only take half a day? Or are you planning a trip that will last up to four days (the maximum allowed for PTO)? Once you have a clear idea of your needs, proceed to step one:

1 - Tell Your Leader About It:

It would be great to have a 5-day notice period before taking a small PTO. For longer periods of PTO, like 4 days, it is advisable to provide a longer notice period so that there is enough time to plan and delegate tasks during the time off. This brings us to step 2, which you may already have in mind.

2 - Ask For It on Zoho People:

Go to Zoho People > Leave Tracker > Apply Leave, and then choose the best category for your PTO. Please note that your birthday is the only exception when it comes to requesting PTO on Zoho. All Rocketeers are automatically granted PTO on their birthdays. If you need to take a sick leave, please attach your doctor's note or sick leave certificate to the leave request form.

Note: If you are an employee in Finland or Croatia, you should also request for the PTO through Deel.

3 - Plan:

Have you considered the tasks or people that may need your attention during your absence? It would be best to plan and schedule necessary emails beforehand or delegate responsibilities to a colleague. Taking care of these important details will allow you to leave without worrying about checking in too often. And, don't forget to block your calendar to avoid any unexpected appointments.

What Do I Do If I Need an Emergency PTO I Didn't See Coming?

It's okay! In case of an emergency, please contact your manager through any available means as soon as possible, especially if you anticipate being unavailable or unable to work. This will enable your manager to confirm your safety and reassign any critical tasks during your absence

If this situation is expected to last for more than one day, please request additional days off on Zoho People as you normally would. If you are unable to do so, simply reach out to someone from the People Team, and they will add that time off to the system for you.

Are There Any Other Hacks And Tips I Can Use When Taking A PTO?

Here are some alternatives you can use to inform others that you're taking time off, ensuring a peaceful and worry-free PTO experience.

  1. The /out-of-office Rocket.Chat App: you'll also hear about this one in the Holidays and Vacations and Leaves section, but whenever you're off you can activate this app that creates an automatic message on your DM chat to let your coworkers know about it if they try to message you. You can activate it by sending this in any chat on open/out-of-office out <automatic message you'll leave> When you come back just write/out-of-office in.

  2. Google Calendar OOO: after the PTO has been approved, update your calendar using Google's Out Of Office feature and include the dates you plan to be away in your automated response. Note that this feature will automatically decline any meeting invitations during the time frame you select.

  3. Turn Off Push Notifications: for some of us, push notifications and relaxation don't go well together because it's natural to feel compelled to respond when we see a message, leading to concerns during our time off. If you choose to respond during your PTO, that's okayβ€”it's your choice! However, if you prefer to fully enjoy those days for yourself, feel free to turn off app notifications on your phone.

What To Do Regarding PTO?

  1. At Rocket.Chat, we strongly encourage taking PTO. Ensuring that you are not overloaded, taking enough time to rest, and caring for yourself are crucial elements of maintaining a healthy relationship with your work and achieving a work-life balance. So, the first 'to-do' is to feel free to take PTO!

  2. A great way to showcase the fantastic moments of your PTO is by sharing! Utilize our #good-vibes channel to let us know what brought you joy and wellness during your time off! Went camping? Share some photos of nature, trees, and a crackling fire! Took half a day to bake bread and catch up on soap operas? We'd love to see your freshly baked bread and hear your soap opera recommendations!

  3. When you notice a colleague is on PTO, rather than sending messages via Rocket.Chat during their time off, consider scheduling them using the /sendlater automation! Also, everyone has the /offmessage automatically enabled. It will notify you when attempting to message someone on holiday or PTO. Therefore, it's recommended to consistently use this feature and opt to schedule your messages

What Not To Do Regarding PTO?

  1. It's known that PTOs are a tool to help us achieve a healthier work-life balance and maintain good mental health, right? So, the main 'not to do' here is: to avoid making negative comments about peers and colleagues taking PTO, as this doesn't align with our beliefs and culture of trusting each other. We all have our own pace and personal situations, so treating each other with respect and empathy is essential.

As A Leader, What Can I Do To Help My Team With This?

You play an important role in helping your team take more PTOs and enjoy them fully! So, here are some tips for you:

  1. Avoid sending messages to that person as much as possible! Before reaching out, consider whether anyone else could provide the answer or find it for you. Can someone else handle the issue for now?

  2. If the person doesn't want to share much about the reason for their PTO, don't pressure them. We all have personal situations, and sometimes we may not feel comfortable discussing them. This is a time when you'll need to be understanding and empathetic!

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