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Is Offering Employees Unlimited Vacation Time A Good Idea?

SOME COMPANIES ARE PAYING PEOPLE TO TAKE VACATIONS (OR OFFERING UNLIMITED VACATION TIME). WOULD YOU DO THIS IN YOUR BUSINESS? WHY OR WHY NOT?

 

 

DON’T CREATE ENTITLEMENTS

ChristopherKellyavatar-1“Lifestyle companies looking to implement liberal vacation policies should do so with some caution in order to mitigate their legal risks. The word “unlimited” invites trouble. Research “return on work” environments where generous vacation allotment is contingent upon job performance. This type of implementation ensures that time off is perceived as a reward and not an entitlement.”

Christopher Kelly | Co-Founder, Principal, Convene

 

QUALITY VS. QUANTITY OF HOURS

AngelaPanavatar-100x100-1“A lot of business now are virtual. It isn’t about where you are in the world, it’s about your commitment to your business. I believe it isn’t the amount of time you spend on a project, it’s about the quality of your work. If an employee feels as if they are more productive at home or somewhere else, by all means. Just get the work done.”

Angela Pan | Owner/Photographer, Angela B Pan Photography

 

 

WHO’S ON YOUR TEAM?

Travis Steffen“If you’ve got a team full of intelligent, self-motivated people working for you who truly enjoy doing what they do and achieving milestones, this can be a great strategy. If, however, you have a team made up of trained monkeys (or their human equivalent), your productivity will plummet.”

Travis Steffen | Founder, WorkoutBOX

 

 

STRUCTURE IS STILL NEEDED

AlexandraLevitavatar-1“I wouldn’t give people unlimited vacation time because it opens up a can of worms. Some people will take advantage of it more than others, which will cause resentment among the staff. I also wouldn’t pay people to take vacation. I think that most mature, sensible employees can manage a few days off at their discretion. If they can’t, then there’s a bigger problem that needs to be addressed.”

Alexandra Levit | President and Founder, Inspiration at Work

 

TRUST YOUR TEAM

Heatherhuhmanavatar-100x100“We currently offer unlimited vacation time at my company. Since everyone works remotely, they’re able to do their work whenever is most convenient for them. As long as their work is completed, they’re able to take vacation days throughout the year – or work from wherever their travels take them.”

Heather Huhman | Founder & President, Come Recommended

 

 

IT’S A TERRIBLE IDEA

jason evanish“Startups are filled with hard workers that love what they do. Because of that, they’re prone to workaholism and burnout. By having unlimited vacation, you open up major problems. Bad employees will take too much time off, causing major culture/team issues. And good employees won’t take any time off – infinity and zero can be difficult to differentiate in the mind, and pressure says to take none.”

Jason Evanish | Co-Founder, Greenhorn Connect

 

VALUE CREATED, NOT HOURS WORKED

junloayza“I build startups, not corporations. I therefore prefer to have no office space and a virtual team all over the country, and base performance on value-created, not hours-worked. My team understands they can take breaks or vacations whenever they want to, as long as they complete their objectives. It’s a challenge to hold people accountable only if they’re the wrong people.”

Jun Loayza | President, Ecommerce Rules

 

 

IF I HAD THE MONEY, HECK YEAH

derekflanzraich“I’m a big believer that rest and recovery, both mental and physical, makes for team members that aren’t just more happy, but also more creative and more efficient, too. Emphasizing and even incentivizing people to go on vacation, where they can really escape and re-group from crazy startup life, will only pay back in dividends.”

Derek Flanzraich | CEO and Founder, Greatist

 

 

TRY EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEERISM

Jasonavatar-100x100“Working for a startup employees often work around the clock and at times can need more work. While our business was developing, some employees found they didn’t have enough full-time work. In order to provide them with a consistent full-time salary, we decided to pay them to volunteer to make up for the missing hours. Supporting paid volunteer hours has built morale and developed a cool culture.”

Jason Jannati | Co-Founder, greeNEWit

 

VACATIONS DEMONSTRATES RESPONSIBILITY

StephanieKaplanavatar-100x100“At Her Campus, we don’t have a set number of vacation days for employees per year. Everyone is expected to work their hardest and do their best possible job at their job, and we leave it up to them how much vacation time they want to take. This way, employees feel control over their own schedules and recognize that they are valued by the results of their work rather than by the hours put in.”

Stephanie Kaplan | Co-Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Her Campus Media

 

BALANCE IS KEY

SusanStrayerLaMotteavatar-100x100-1“It’s a great model if you balance it with performance measures and guidelines. Employees have to be accountable to perform and should be rewarded when they work hard to get things done quickly. If it’s all about performance, they’ll hold each other accountable, both on taking too much vacation and on not taking enough.”

Susan Strayer LaMotte | Founder & Principal Consultant,exaqueo

 

 

POTENTIALLY A DISASTER

luke burgis“Zappos pays certain people to leave after finishing their training program. This makes sense. Paying people to take vacation time does not. Businesses pay for productivity, not for vacations. In the short run, employing this type of policy may be good for publicity and promoting a cool company culture, but it’s a disaster in the long run. A great culture can co-exist with structure.”

Luke Burgis | Director, ActivPrayer

 

IT MEANS MORE PRODUCTIVITY

bhavin parikh“We do offer unlimited vacations. We want to foster a culture of trust and responsibility. The more flexibility you give employees, the more responsible they feel. Instead of counting hours or vacation time accrued, they work hard and stay late when they need to and then take a break to recharge when they need to. The company and the employee both benefit.”

Bhavin Parikh | CEO, Magoosh Test Prep

 

 

TRY FLEX TIME INSTEAD

ElizabethSaundersavatar-100x100-1“I think vacation time is incredibly important, but even more so, flexible time. If you allow the people working for you to do what’s important to them, such as attending a family event, going to the doctor, surfing, or taking a class, and then make up the hours at other times, they don’t typically need unlimited vacation.”

Elizabeth Saunders | Founder & CEO, Real Life E®

 

 

HAPPY LIFE MEANS HAPPY EMPLOYEES

AbbyRossavatar-100x100-1“Work-life balance is increasingly important in today’s fast-paced environment. I believe that travel and taking time off are essential to make sure that employees are happy and focused at work.”

Abby Ross | Co-Founder & VP Operations, ThinkCERCA

 

 

Photo Credits

The YEC | Matt Baron 

Author : Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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