Vacation Days: ∞

An article in a recent Indiana Business Journal talks about companies that do not have a formal time off policy.   This is especially relevant today as I am sitting at my desk looking at at the beautiful blue sky with temperatures in the very comfortable 70s.  Do I have a full day of work ahead of me?  Absolutely.  Do I need to have all of it done today? Probably not.  About half of my to-dos need to be done today and the rest could get done over the weekend. 

Walker is very generous with their PTO so if I wanted, I could try to leave early and they are flexible with their work schedules so I could leave early and just finish a few things from home.  However, I think about a friend of mine who is fairly high up, very respected in his field, and only gets two weeks vacation.  On top of that he works a lot of hours so not only does he not get much vacation, but he works quite a bit.  When I talk to him he does not really complain, he just accepts it and keeps doing a great job for his company. Even f he had unlimited vacation, I am sure he would not take it. But that is the point, why not give the employees the choice?  If you answer no, let me try to understand this.  You do not trust them to make good decisions with how they use their time,  but you trust that they will make good decisions with all other aspects of their job and make good decisions when it comes to working with your customers.  Is that right?   

I was sent another article on this very topic and it speaks to how unlimited vacation actually INCREASES productivity, did you catch that?  I said INCREASES. 

i was debating this with a friend of mine.  He felt that companies with no formal PTO policy would use that as a way to overwork their employees as there would be no way to track how much vacation was used, or use it to poorly evaluate an employee that was taking a lot of vacation.  He felt employees would then take less vacation and actually work more.  Since there is nothing that would indicate how many more days they have left to use, they would just expect them to always be at work.  I disagree and feel if a company is progressive enough to not have a formal PTO policy, they are going to trust their employees to get their work done. 

I actually know some people that work in this environment and love it.  They feel they have so much flexibility to manage life and work and feel so inspired because the company shows they trust the employee by empowering them to manage their work as they see fit.  I know I have blogged about this before and I have heard people say this won't work for all positions, yes, I don't want my dentist taking off before my appointment because he decided to take some vacation.  I don't want to sit on the phone for hours because no one is around in customer service.  I think for a lot of companies, the question to ask is, "Why  won't this work?" but, "How could this work?"

What do you think?  Would employees working for a company with no PTO policy work more?



Comments for: Vacation Days: ∞

Name: Paul
Time: Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chris,
I really enjoy your blog as it prompts plenty of thought. I love the idea. Paid time off is viewed as a currency that you don't want to lose in a benefits package. By not using the PTO, you are leaving time and money on the table. However, if you cut out PTO entirely and say work as you need, it removes the currency or the perceived loss in not taking days off. In theory, it is pretty impressive. I am salaried and work in a high stress team environment. Without a defined PTO plan, I could see resentment towards someone being perceived as taking off more time than the team feels is appropriate. Especially, if they come back with a tan. Obviously, the lack of a PTO plan (or PTO infinity) is not magic pill to be swallowed for an organization but another potential tool to be used in the support of a specified culture.

Best Regards.

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