As flexibility in the workplace becomes a major commodity for job-seekers, the Virgin Group is taking their already flexible workplace policies one step farther by allowing employees to take as much vacation time as they want.
Inspired by an article about Netflix that his daughter sent him, Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, decided to drop their formal vacation policy and allow salaried employees to take vacation any amount of vacation time and go for as long as they would like.
“This is surely one of the simplest and smartest initiatives I have heard of in a long time,” Branson said in a blog post. “I’m delighted to say that we have introduced this same (non) policy at our parent company in both the UK and the US, where vacation policies can be particularly draconian.”
He furthered expressed his opinion on U.S. vacation policies during an interview with CNN calling them “dreadful” and asking how American employees have time to bond with their children when they take so few vacation days.
Not everyone is impressed with Virgin’s idea. A Time article denounces the policy change, pointing out that team members who are in-office will have to pick up the slack for those who are away.
Another point that the Time article makes is that not having a set amount of vacation time means that the company won’t have to pay back employees who don’t use up all of their allotted time.
Despite the criticism from some, many other publications are applauding the move as a good way to boost morale, productivity and attract potential talent.
Allowing a vacation free-for-all requires trust in the entire staff. Branson said in his blog post that it is assumed that employees will make sure to take their vacation days during appropriate times that won’t negatively impact the business.
Branson doesn’t think that unlimited vacations will be a problem for the business. His post points out that treating employees well is often a motivator to make sure work gets done.
Netflix and Evernote are two companies that have already adopted open vacation policies in recent years.