Unlimited time off - does it work?

The practice of offering employees unlimited holiday leave is not uncommon amongst many a tech firm in Silicon Valley and is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. The idea is that the company trusts their employee to manage their tasks and projects, and to structure their time according to what needs to get done, leaving them to decide how much time away from work they can take.

Indeed, one of the worlds leading job search boards are concerned that many workers aren't unplugging from work when they're on holiday. They believe that the problem of being addicted to their work inbox is widespread.

Indeed have conducted a survey and found that half of full-time adults don’t use up their annual vacation entitlement. To combat this worrying trend – and, to get “rested, empowered and motivated employees” – Indeed are promoting a new Paid Time Off initiative.

Under this scheme employees can take unlimited time off for sickness, for personal reasons or vacations - “There are no limits.”

Following the schemes introduction, employees are taking 28% more leave year-on-year, and Indeed are attributing the success in getting employees to take time off to the Paid Time Off initiative.

The Society for Human Resource Management reckon that only 1% of employers currently ofer unlimited time off – although Indeed are adamant their scheme is a success.

Netflix were the first company to introduce unlimited holiday believing that it is the most obvious expression of what Netflix describes as a completely different way of imagining the rules of hiring and firing. Netflix advise that it’s not an all-the-holiday-you-like policy and is a policy built on trust but then their HR style is different - more casual, informal conversations rather than annual appraisals and believe in results not processes.

For some organisations the approach taken by indeed and Netflix amongst others, might be a policy that you aspire to or have in action already. For others, the need for more structure suits their business better, it is important to note that holiday is important for employees to have a break and feel well rested in order to perform at their best throughout the year. An attractive holiday policy could also aid recruitment and retention...food for thought!

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