Flexibility is rapidly becoming one of the business world’s most sought-after commodities, with millennials in particular placing increasing emphasis on work-life balance. As a result, many enterprises are being forced to revisit their now obsolete leave policies, which in today’s work-from-anywhere age are perceived as akin to incarceration.
To overcome this, many businesses have begun to acquiesce to the demands of today’s workforce by implementing unlimited vacation policies. At first glance, this might seem like a counter-intuitive move – who wants a team of underworked, over-tanned employees after all – but in fact, the impact to both productivity and retention has been largely positive across the board.
LinkedIn, Netflix and Hubspot are just some of the big names now offering this increasingly popular perk, and the results speak for themselves. Not only have these savvy employers curtailed their absenteeism by around 38%, but they’ve also saved themselves in the region of $2,000 per employee by eradicating unnecessary leave accrual.
Contrary to the expectations of many cynics, employees with unlimited off-days at their disposal tend to in fact utilize far fewer of them. Studies have shown that the idea of unlimited leave is in fact more valuable than the leave itself, as it demonstrates the company’s willingness to acknowledge employee needs outside the workplace.
Employees who feel free to take regular vacations tend to be more content in their jobs, comforted by the access they’re afforded to an occasional break should the pressure get too much. But unlike in companies with stringent leave policies, these employees tend to stress less, and consequently feel a lessened need to flee the bounds of their 9-5.
Additionally, businesses have found that this policy puts them at a strong advantage when head-hunting talented individuals, and actually ends up saving them a fair amount of money in the long run, as there’s no obligation to pay out any accrued leave should an under-holidayed individual decide to depart unexpectedly.
As you might expect, implementing a policy of this nature can have damaging repercussions if improperly implemented, and let’s face it there will always be that one employee who regards it as an invitation to globe-trot on your account. So to make sure you’re getting optimum results from your unlimited vacation policy, here are 3 top tips to getting it right:
SAY NO TO WORKING VACATIONS
If you’re offering your employees unlimited leave, it shouldn’t come with any type of caveat. If you say ‘unlimited leave’ but really mean ‘working vacation’, employees will quickly smell a rat and start to distrust you. Remember too that an actual break – one that features no emails or pestering phone calls – is ultimately good for business, and leaves your employees refreshed, revitalized and ready to take on their role with renewed enthusiasm.
LEADERS, LEAD THE WAY
Employees constantly look to their leaders to set examples – even when it comes to taking time off. So if you opt never to take breaks, it’s likely that your employees will feel pressured to act in the same way. Not only is it important that you take a break from time to time, but you also need to demonstrate to those below you that holidays are in fact a good thing – in moderation of course. So don’t be afraid to book that break you’ve been meaning to take – it’ll do wonders for both you and your team!
DON’T LEAVE THINGS OPEN-ENDED
A policy such as this can leave many employees scratching their heads and wondering just how much leave is ‘too much’ – nobody wants to be perceived as the office slacker after all. So whilst the leave itself is probably best left open-ended, it’s important that you circulate some sort of ‘best practice’ guide to give employees an idea of your expectations. Not only does this help to set boundaries, but it also gives you recourse in the event of someone taking unnecessary advantage.