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20 July, 2011 / Karl Maier

Can an Unlimited Vacation Policy Improve Productivity?

According to a recent Wall Street Journal Article, about 2% of companies offer an unlimited vacation policy.

Workers get no guaranteed amount, or official limit, of vacation time, but they have to get time off approved and generally have to make sure things go smoothly in their absence. Some employers promote this as liberating, saying their workplaces are so flexible that old-fashioned constraints such as assigned time off aren’t needed. But others say the lack of guidelines fuels a tendency to work all the time.

Open-ended vacations mesh well with the open-ended workday at Netflix Inc. In 2004, the Los Gatos, Calif., company stopped tracking vacations in order to “focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days” they work, according to a company presentation at the time.

Does this policy really help people focus on doing the work? Or does it just give them the flexibility to work from any location on their phone and laptop?

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2 Comments

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  1. Tessa Duckett / Jul 26 2011 10:54 pm

    Interesting concept, but It’s a company benefit to earn vacation days. Earning vacation helps with employee retention and job satisfaction, and also keeps people working toward a goal. Besides there could be so much misuse.

    • Karl Maier / Jul 28 2011 6:46 pm

      Good points. The misuse has to be balanced against trusting a professional to manage their own time. This approach is not a good fit for all organizations.

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