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Rich Mackey Nov 5, 2018 12:00:00 AM

Why We're Closed on Election Day.

This year we made a decision to close our office on Election Day. To make it a company holiday. Obviously it's not a requirement—in Iowa and Nebraska, private companies can decide their own holidays. And for us, choosing this day was an easy decision.

Making it Easy for Employees to Participate in the Electoral Process

Our team is extremely dedicated. Going the extra mile when needed, checking in from vacation, checking in on a weekend or evening—and we appreciate that. But we understand the importance of time off. We also understand the importance of prioritizing some things over work. Family time. Your health. And participating in the democratic process. We want to make it easy for all of our employees to prioritize voting. Some vote early. Some stand in line. Some have a quick "in and out" polling place. But it doesn't matter how they vote, only that they do. Or at least, that their job isn't a barrier to voting.

How We Handle Politics in the Office

While we encourage our employees to vote, we don't discuss for whom we think they should vote. We don't endorse candidates as a company. We don't donate to PACs or individuals. We don't handle partisan or issue politics marketing. These are all choices we made as a team, with each employee having a say. Are we political? Yes, of course. As individuals we all have "hot button issues" and policy preferences. But they don't belong in our office. We're here to work together as a team, to respect one another and to create great marketing that drives business from our clients. It's really that simple.

A Great Example from 9 Justices

I recently had the opportunity for a behind the scenes tour of the Supreme Court. It was an amazing experience all around. But one thing that struck me were the strict lines the Justices draw between their court cases and their relationships. They follow three basic rules:
  1. Don't discuss the case with each other before oral arguments. Each Justice has an opinion on a case, and they may guess how someone else may see the case, but the first time they really know how one another view a case is in oral arguments through their questioning. Until that moment, they keep to themselves about each case.
  2. No discussion of cases during lunch. Most of the Justices eat lunch together regularly. Throughout the history of the Court there has been a tradition to not discuss cases during lunch. They talk about their day. Their family. What they had for dinner. How they like their lunch, but never the case. The same is true of breaks they take during a case. Discussion happens in the courtroom, not in casual conversation.
  3. Hear everyone out. When it does come time to discuss a case, the Justices have a private conference room where they meet to deliberate and debate. No one else is allowed in this room. No clerks. No aides. Just the 9 Justices. While there, they each take a turn speaking, from the Cheif Justice in order down to the most junior/recent justice. Everyone gets a say with no interruption. After that, it could become a free for all, but they almost always allow someone to completely finish before interjecting. Their conversation—even on highly contentious issues—is respectful.

We're all Just Humans. And Americans.

In the end, yes, we acknowledge one another's politics. We do have discussions and even debates on topics we're passionate about. When we share our opinions, we do it respectfully. And we do it outside of work. Sometimes we slip at the office and someone gets political. It happens. But we all keep each other in check and ensure it doesn't get heated or interfere with our opinions of one another, or our respect for our team. That's how we handle politics in our office. And that's why we took the very small step of making Election Day a company holiday.