Coinbase explains why it gave employees a month of ‘recharge time’ in addition to Flexible Time Off

Coinbase made a splash earlier this week when it announced four “recharge weeks” for its employees in 2022. 

The move follows a busy year for the company, in which it implemented a direct deposit option on their platform in September, announced plans to open its own NFT marketplace in October, and acquired crypto-builder Bison Trails as well as futures exchange FairX this month. They have tripled their headcount over the last 12 months. 

“[M]any days and weeks are long, because that’s what it takes to get the job done and achieve our mission,” Chief People Officer LJ Brock told Fortune

In an open letter on the Coinbase blog on Tuesday, Brock cited an epiphany in 2020 that hinted at the need for more employee downtime: despite an unlimited flexible time off policy, many employees weren’t taking the time off they needed for fear of falling behind on their work tasks, or burdening a teammate with increased responsibilities. Coinbase already had two recharge weeks scheduled per year, but they decided to double it. Now, “90-day pushes” are capped with a week off. 

“We’ve long believed that a ‘sprint and recharge’ approach is the best way for us to manage the pace of our industry and ensure we could all take the time off we need,” said Brock. “This is a critical moment in crypto, and we expect this year to be just as demanding as the last two.”

And the company found that the majority of employees—52%—said that these recharge weeks were the primary tool that helped the rest and recover in 2021. 

“Over the last two years, we also experimented with single recharge days, but we anecdotally heard those were less impactful,” Brock said. 

While the four recharge weeks are new additions to Coinbase’s substantial list of employee benefits, employees will still get FTO. 

“We didn’t make any changes to our Flexible Time Off policy—we’ve encouraged employees to schedule vacations during our recharge weeks when they can, but we know that’s not always possible, and that’s OK,” Brock said.

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