Mark your calendars, folks. WordCamp US 2020 will start on a…Tuesday.
On November 11, the WordCamp US team announced that next year’s event will happen during the middle of the week, from October 27 through October 29. This is a change from the usual three-day weekend event. The time frame puts the event’s days on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The yearly conference will remain in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2020.
Those planning ahead can sign up for updates via the new WordCamp US 2020 site.
Thus far, the switch away from a weekend has been met with generally positive responses via Twitter and Slack. However, some people fear the schedule will not allow them to attend.
The WordCamp US Twitter account cited date availability, Halloween, and giving the weekend back to attendees as the reason behind the change.
For professionals in the WordPress space, this move will likely be a welcome change. They are often able to get extra time off from work, sometimes paid leave, to attend the event. The company they work for may even be funding their travel. For them, attending a WordCamp is a part of their work.
The unfortunate side effect of attending a WordCamp over the weekend is that some attendees usually have to wake up for work on Monday morning after traveling back home on Sunday. Many are essentially working two weeks straight without any downtime. This helps pile on the problem of developer burnout. Rest days, time with friends and family, and getting away from code-related things is a part of a healthy work-life balance.
Moving the event to the middle of the week should allow professionals to better maintain that balance.
On the other hand, some attendees may find it harder to attend during the week. This is particularly true for WordCamp-goers who do not work with WordPress professionally. They may not be able to get the time off work.
As a general rule, Americans tend to have little paid leave they can take advantage of throughout the year. The average worker in the private sector only gets 10 paid vacation days per year after one year of employment. Those numbers rise the longer an employee sticks with a single company. The US does not guarantee paid leave for workers.
Without support from their employer, some people may have to choose between using their paid time off to attend and keeping those days in reserve for family vacation or holidays.
Unlike local WordCamps, the US conference is more of an industry event that sees professionals from across the US and the world. The move to a weekday schedule should be a nice change for many.
My teenage son and I like going to WordCamps together, but this may prevent him from going. He’d have to miss too much school.
I imagine this will make it more difficult for the volunteers, too.