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Sammy Recharge days, global holidays, and open PTO: How we approach paid leave at DigitalOcean

Posted: February 9, 20223 min read

DigitalOcean is a values-driven company, and we are consistently aiming to improve our employee experience and ensure we are creating an inclusive environment for all. Over the past two years, as COVID-19 has changed working situations around the globe, we have transitioned from being partly remote into a remote-first organization that is committed to enabling productive and happy remote working environments.

We’re confident that this remote-first approach gives employees the flexibility to create a healthy work-life balance, but we also know that employees need time off of work to recharge. While DigitalOcean has an open Paid Time Off policy, we found that during the height of COVID-19, many employees were not taking breaks due to the challenges around travel and other factors. In order to ensure every employee was taking time away from work to recharge, in 2020 we implemented days throughout the year in which the whole company is off.

Named ‘Sammy Recharge Days’ after our mascot Sammy the Shark, these bonus days off have proved to be a great success. Because all employees are off on a Sammy recharge day, individuals don’t have to catch up on missed meetings and messages when they are back, so can truly enjoy the time off. While implementing Sammy Recharge Days our company productivity has grown by over 30%, while attrition has fallen to below 10%, and employees have consistently responded positively to the extra time off in company surveys.

We kept the tradition of Sammy Recharge Days in 2021, and we’re pleased that for 2022 and beyond we are expanding our holiday calendar even further, giving employees 14 Sammy Recharge Days plus public holidays in each of the countries we work in. In addition, we are putting an intentional focus on observing a wide range of holidays that are of religious and cultural significance to different groups.

As a company with employees around the globe and of a variety of backgrounds, we feel it is important for us to recognize holidays that aren’t always observed in the United States, from Juneteenth to Eid al-Fitr, Diwali, Yom Kippur, and International Women’s Day. This year, we have designed a holiday calendar that not only gives employees in all countries at least 25 company holidays, but also brings attention to holidays of significance to different religions and cultures.

Sammy Recharge Days are just one way we prioritize employee wellbeing at DigitalOcean. Our full paid leave policy also includes unlimited PTO so employees can take longer breaks throughout the year, and parental benefits for both primary and non-primary caregivers. DigitalOcean gives new parents up to 16 weeks leave for primary caregivers, 8 weeks leave for non-primary caregivers, plus 8 weeks of transition time for both primary and non-primary caregivers so they can ease back into working full time.

DigitalOcean also provides employees with access to mental health applications including Headspace, Ginger, and Calm, a $100/month wellness stipend, $200/month stipend to cover wifi and other work from home expenses, and generous healthcare plans which include mental health benefits.

Interested in learning more about how DigitalOcean embodies our “Love is at our core” value? See a list of benefits and open positions on our careers page.


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