Forced week off at Adobe not exactly a vacation

For graphics software giant Adobe, this was a week of forced time off for employees as the firm copes with the fierce economic downturn.

The San Francisco-based company is requiring employees in software development, marketing, financial and other areas to take paid time off en masse, virtually emptying out offices. It plans to do this again one week each quarter for the rest of the year. The mandatory vacation would save the company money were any lay-offs made this year among its 7,000 employees. But it was difficult for some Adobe employees, though technically on mandatory vacation, to actually stop working because of deadlines.

"We have one shutdown week per quarter now," said Sandra Lo, senior manager in public relations, who was coordinating meetings for senior Adobe executives in advance of next week's RSA Conference in San Francisco.

John Landwehr, director of security solutions and strategy at Adobe, says it was almost impossible to stop working in advance of the RSA Conference in San Francisco next week.

However, the plus side of Adobe's mandatory shutdown was spending time with the kids, says Landwehr and Lo. "This week does happen to be spring break for my son," Landwehr says.

Adobe reported its first-quarter revenue of US$786 million, down from $890 million for the first quarter of 2008 and $915.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.

In a statement made March 4 prior to its official earnings announcement, Adobe cited weakness in its "creative knowledge worker business as the primary reason for the revenue shortfall," while saying the "LifeCycle Enterprise business" was strong.
Adobe President and CEO Shantanu Narayen stated, "Despite worsening market conditions, we were able to manage expenses to deliver earnings and margin results with the target ranges we provided at the outset of the quarter."

In a January issue of Fortune Magazine, Adobe was named in the list of "100 Best Companies to Work For," named 11th best to work for in America.

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