Is unlimited holiday time a good thing?
Or too much of a good thing? It’s not easy to see the long-term benefit of letting employees take as much time off as they need, but we’ve found some definite pros – and ways to make it work for your business.
If it’s good enough for Netflix…
And that’s to drop one big name. Others, like LinkedIn and Virgin Group, have all introduced unlimited holidays in a bid to increase job satisfaction and attract new talent. Flexibility over time off can boost morale and confidence in teams across the company – plus, they feel respected and trusted as autonomous individuals rather than corporate drones.
It could boost productivity
Flexible working hours and unlimited time off can actually mean staff are more inclined to put in extra time and productive effort beyond the standard 9 to 5. This creates better work, more satisfying results for bosses, and higher rewards for companies opting to recognise the needs of their employees.
A survey carried out by insurance broker Towergate Insurance found that just over half of employees would swap longer hours for unlimited holiday time.
It could end the logistical staff diary nightmare
Arranging cover for colleagues rushing to take annual leave days is a pain in the neck, especially around peak times (like now and Christmas/New Year) when people can’t get through the door fast enough.
Unlimited annual leave can alleviate the pressure on staff to book holidays at odd times if the days don’t roll over. Like the Virgin Group, you may also observe team members collaborating more openly and thoughtfully on booking holiday time, such as when projects are delivered.
So, how do you create the right environment?
Firstly, look at the attitudes held within the company towards time off. Is the business guilty of ‘vacation shaming’?
Secondly, look at how you set up and communicate the policy, and how the company communicates overall. The privilege of unlimited holiday can tempt certain people to take advantage – and you may find fault lines exposed in the workings (or workers) of your company. How do you balance such a policy with getting the job done?
Typical challenges revolve around making sure hours are covered during staff holidays, capping overtime pay, and weighing up clashing holiday requests.
Thirdly, consider that even though Netflix might have been doing this since 2004, this is still a new-fangled idea for the rest of us. Employees can be suspicious of a system that they don’t understand, or even don’t want to over step the mark with employers – which is why companies that offer unlimited holidays notice that employees take fewer days off.
Sit down with your HR people to create a clear policy, and look at communication strategies that will best get the message out within your company.
As long as you establish a policy that works for you, the business and your staff, unlimited holiday could be the way forward.