Some employers, mostly technology companies like Netflix, IBM, and Bazaarvoice, are offering an unlimited vacation policy. That is, each employee determines how much vacation time he will take without restrictions imposed by the company.Â Sounds great, right? It seems to be working Bazaarvoice, anyway. Brett Hurt, CEO of the Austin, Texas based company, claimsÂ the policy is an important element of the firm’s phenomenal success.
It seems to makes sense – IT employees habitually blur the lines between time at work and time off by being perpetually â€œon-call,â€ which makes accounting for time off difficult. And more of Americaâ€™s workforce has unwittingly become â€œon-callâ€ with increased ability to work from home and be in contact 24/7 via mobile devices.
The trend toward unlimited vacation marks a philosophical change from â€œtime orientedâ€ to â€œresults orientedâ€ management. In other words, employers donâ€™t care how many hours youâ€™re in the office as long as your work is done. But is your work ever really done? This paradigm shift may eliminate clock-milking, but it may also result in employees taking less vacation. Or working during vacation.
Some activists for work/life balance worry that eliminating formal vacation policies will result in employees taking less time off. As it is, the United States is the only advanced country without government mandated vacation, and US workers are terrible at vacationing even when they do take time off. Additionally, insecurities due to the recession and unemployment could make workers hesitant to take time off at all.
The Boston Globe did an interview with Steve Swasey of Netflix, and revealed that their employees may not be in the office, but they are seldom, if ever, really â€œoff.â€ Theyâ€™re checking in with the office via mobile devices even during overseas trips. He says, â€œSome people really need to get away and rejuvenate. That might not be the right kind of person for Netflix.â€
So, what you do think? Unlimited vacation: benefit or scam?
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