Should Companies Consider Unlimited Annual Leave?

For many of us, the thought of having unlimited annual leave is a dream that seems too good to be true. But for some, this notion isn’t just a pipe dream but a reality – it’s believed at that around nine per cent of companies around the world allow their staff to take unlimited holidays, including Virgin, Netflix and LinkedIn, to name just a few. But is this just a PR trick or is there a benefit for businesses who do this for their staff? There are advocates and critics on both side of the fence over whether the answer to a more productive team is in extra days off.

Are Staff More Engaged with Additional Holiday?

There’s no denying that this type of initiative gives brands a marketing boost and is an exciting benefit for staff, but how do those who have this option actually perform at work? Are they more productive and engaged? Some critics of the scheme believe that this holiday structure can actually have a demotivating effect, leading employees to be confused over what is deemed an acceptable amount of time off and leaving them stressed. In giving staff all the holiday they could want, some might even feel pressured not to take any at all, having an adverse effect. If staff feel the pressure to perform better and work harder to make up for their unlimited holiday, is it really worth having it at all?

Striking a Balance Between Work and Personal Life

But as many companies will be aware of, the issue isn’t usually encouraging staff to take even more holiday but to use up what they have already accrued. For businesses who don’t have an automated HR system in place that makes tracking holiday entitlement really easy, there comes a point in the year when HR staff are chasing colleagues to remind them to use their holiday up before it gets carried over. Taking holiday is important for your wellbeing, as over-working can be detrimental to your physical and mental health, but if the answer doesn’t lie in unlimited time off, how can employers ensure their staff achieve a greater work-life balance?

Flexible Working is a Great Alternative

Some organisations have found that the answer actually lies in flexible working to give staff the chance to work at times that best suit their needs, while still providing great service to their employer. This way of working isn’t just about appeasing staff but also benefitting the company, as a more flexible workforce means that clients’ needs can also be met over a more extended time-frame and results in more productive staff too. But even more important than all of this is that staff will be more engaged with their job and be prepared to give extra when needed if they see that the business respects their personal life as well as their job. Most people don’t necessarily want to be given unlimited days off but rather, they want to have the flexibility to do the things that matter most to them, such as spending time with family or attending significant events that they don’t want to miss.

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