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Should everyone have unlimited holiday?

This recent post on LinkedIn has caught our attention. It’s the argument for unlimited time off for employees.

The author wrote: Since 2004, Netflix employees have taken as many vacation days as they’ve wanted. They have the freedom to decide when to show up for work, when to take time off, and how much time it will take them to get the job done. As far as the commentator could tell, this hasn’t hurt Netflix one bit. Since instituting the policy, it’s grown its market cap to over $51 billion.

He makes a strong case: “We don’t track the time we spend working outside of the office—like e-mails we answer from home and the work we do at night and on weekends—so why do we track the time we spend off the job?”

At Xperiology,we believe in (yes, I know it’s a cliché) “working hard and playing hard” but simply put, if we deliver the results in whatever timeframe then it’s only right to take the time off to recharge, relax and re-think the next steps.

As an organisation we offer the regular 20 work days per annum, plus the usual UK national Bank Holidays, then on top we close for Christmas period (typically 7-10 additional working days which are on top of annual leave) and from 2016 we’re giving all our team their birthdays off. Why? Because the last thing you want to do on your birthday is spend it with colleagues in the work environment, doing work things and talking about work challenges. Enjoy your annual anniversary of existence with the people you love and like (who may, of course, be work colleagues).

But unlimited days off? The challenge with such a policy for smaller businesses like ours is twofold. Firstly, there isn’t a massive pool of co-workers to cover the workload. If our Karl takes three days off, we have no marketing for three days. If Lizzie ain’t driving VIPs, then our attendance list stalls. Secondly, the onus is on the business owners to provide a structure, processes and methodologies which support the ‘unlimited hols’ policy but still ensure that goals are exceeded. That’s a big demand on the already heavy workload of small business owners.

However, one approach may be to train everyone to cover every role and have total flexibility in the HR resource. Food for thought for the Christmas and New Year holiday period ahead!


PS. Was also staggered to read this in the same post: “In fact, American companies aren’t legally required to give any paid time off at all, whereas it’s mandated in many other countries.” Thank goodness we’re a British business 😉


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