You get a cake, you get a cake, everybody gets a cake

Dhruv Saxena

Picture this: Your birthday (or work anniversary) is on a workday and you clock in...

...half-expecting to see wishes from dear colleagues. In reality: *crickets*. You reason with yourself that you didn’t broadcast the Special Date anywhere but you can’t help feeling a little let down. Should you let it slip during a video call, or wait until everyone finds out two days later and sends vindicating belated wishes? If you’re feeling phantom pain just reading this, don’t let your teams experience it in real life.

Here’s what the problem is 

We get it — when you’re sitting in a wind tunnel of projects, emails, deadlines and calls flying at you, it can be super hard to remember birthdays and work anniversaries. In a professional setting, they might not even seem that important. But they’re still two dates that some people hold close to their hearts, so not celebrating them can pinch. Acknowledging and celebrating these dates doesn’t cost much (especially if you go down the wishes route), but it can help build a good workplace culture that values people. So, why the heck not, right? 

Here’s how we’re fixing it 

The solution is well and truly simple — everyone’s calendar will reflect upcoming birthdays and work anniversaries of team members who’ve updated dates on their personal Pause profile.

These dates show up with a fun emoji ( birthdays = 🍰, work anniversaries = 🎉 ) so it’s easy to spot. The dates are also automagically sent as a Slack notification to whatever channel you choose, so it’s that easy to reply on the thread with wishes and party emojis.

Really, that’s all there is to it. Some Big Brain Energy right here. 

Behind the scenes

We pride ourselves on making software obvious. That involves building thoughtfully and doing all the heavy lifting so that, for our users, using Pause is a breeze. Here’s a glimpse at why we did what we did to make the Celebrations feature a no-brainer. 

Birthdays show up on your planner view, and also in Slack, when you use Pause, a leave management and team planning tool.
Birthdays show up on your planner view, and also in Slack

Bin the biases, speak to users 

We’ll be honest — we thought of birthdays and work anniversaries as cheesy annoyances, so we nearly left them out. But for the sake of experimentation we kept them, figuring that, by making it optional to fill in these dates, most users wouldn’t have a birthday on Pause, rendering the feature useless and proving us right. 

Except we were proved wrong. 

A large percentage of our users did fill in their special days. There’s more: when we asked our users what their favourite feature was in Pause, they said—wait for it—birthdays. It turns out that many of our users also offer birthday leaves to their employees! 

What about work anniversaries? 

Almost all our beta customers asked for the addition of these special days on their own. They wanted to help their teams connect as humans while working remotely, saw a lot of positive engagement around birthdays, and decided to celebrate more days that are appropriate in the workplace. 

Bottom line: You are not the user, so quit making assumptions.

Read more on how we built Pause

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