Surviving The Vacation Gauntlet

Summertime at Pure Adapt is a lot like summertime at any other business. Everyone takes a vacation. A lot of people take long weekends. The office is less full. The difference with us and other businesses our size is that someone being gone is actually kind of a big deal. In my experience, large offices barely notice when someone is gone for a week. With us, every single owner and employee has important day-to-day responsibilities that need to be covered. In addition, our part-time employees… Continue reading


No Reply Necessary

As I’ve written about before, internal email can be challenging. The most ambiguous part of internal email – email sent within the company – is knowing when to reply and when not to. As I wrote in that post in 2012: Know when to respond and when not to. This is a tough one. I like to put myself in other people’s shoes. If I would want a response from them – even if it’s just “great idea!” or “keep me posted, I’m interested” –… Continue reading


Email on Vacation is a Thing of the Past

Since leaving my job in 2006 I haven’t taken a true vacation. I’ve taken plenty of trips, many of them fun and relaxing, but at no point have I ever gone more than a business day or two without checking my email. Often I just checked it and moved on in a few minutes, but plenty of other times I got sucked into something and lost an hour or two that should have been spent having fun. It’s impossible to unplug when you’re still tethered… Continue reading


Enabling Our Employees

About a month ago my partners and I were discussing that we had to start doing a better job of enabling our employees. There’s a natural progression from training, to getting most of the work done on your own, to complete mastery and ownership of a process. We realized that maybe we were unintentionally inhibiting that last part by being too quick to jump in and take control at the first sign of trouble. You have to be allowed to struggle through the problem solving… Continue reading


Making Music Work At Work

When we first started working in our warehouse it was just my partners and I. We had an old boom box (remember those?) that we used to play local radio stations while we were in the warehouse. When we got back to the office someone would throw music on their computer. Sometimes people would use headphones if they wanted to zone in to their work. It kind of just worked and we didn’t think much of it. Fast forward to last year and our lack… Continue reading


Tutorial: Using Google Spreadsheets to Update a Google Calendar – Our New Vacation Management System

As promised in my last post about our vacation policies, here’s a step-by-step tutorial of how we now manage our vacation policies with a Google Calendar and a Google Spreadsheet. By the end of this tutorial you’ll be able to: Organize all of your employee vacation days in one central system using a Google Calendar and a Google Spreadsheet. Have vacation days automatically added to a Google Calendar that is viewable to anyone in your organization. Manage the vacation days in a Google Spreadsheet that… Continue reading


How And Why We Adjusted Our Vacation Policies

It feels like we’ve had our core team in place forever. The six of us – myself, my two partners, and our three full-time employees – naturally form such a good team that sometimes we forget that we’ve only been together as a team for 14 months. Occasionally we’re reminded that we’re all still relatively new to each other when things happen that have never happened before and we’re forced to overhaul our policies. We just wrapped up a stretch where three of the six… Continue reading


Thoughts on a Killer Cyber Monday Week

The Expectations A few months ago we weren’t sure where to set our expectations for this year’s holiday shopping rush, what I like to now refer to as “Cyber Monday Week” – the Tuesday before Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Last year was a huge success, setting the bar pretty high for this year. Then we had a surprisingly successful October of sales where we saw larger-than-expected growth in a month that’s traditionally been one of our slowest. The month ended with Mike and Greg traveling… Continue reading


What a Difference a Monitor Makes

It’s funny how big of a difference little changes can make. Earlier this year we started noticing that our employees were doing a lot of tasks that would benefit from more screen space. Laptop screens are more than adequate for plenty, but when you’re doing accounting, customer service, social media, research projects, and the like, it can be incredibly beneficial to snap two windows side-by-side. Not to mention the programming I’m doing or the graphic design that Mike’s doing. It’s not just more convenient, it… Continue reading


They Don’t Teach Documentation in College

As we continue to learn what works and what doesn’t when it comes to training our employees, we’ve stumbled upon a few gems that will become staples of our training processes moving forward. One such example is with documentation. Documentation is pretty critical for our business (or really any business of any size for that matter). If someone is sick or leaves and someone else has to take over, having a process documented can be a life saver. The same can be said of just… Continue reading