Work Culture: Unlimited Vacation Time
As an entrepreneur, a mom, and someone who had to take care of my 78-year-old mother with a health emergency, I appreciate my company’s policies and attitudes toward work. I trust my employees, and I know how to manage their work, not the amount of hours they spend working.
We have unlimited vacation time, and I encourage my staff to take vacations in the way they want. One wants to take every Friday off, another wants to take a month off to hike remote areas. Some people choose to completely disconnect, and some (like myself) prefer to have some responsibility so they can be away longer – everyone’s idea of downtime is different.
Since we’re a small company, we struggle with work coverage. In order to take time off, employees don’t ask their boss, they fill out a form, which we review in a huddle to determine who is going to cover their work while they’re gone. We figure out a way to make it work.
I know that the critique of many companies that have unlimited vacation policies is that no one takes vacation ever. I counter that by saying that it is something that needs to come from the top. I will often take five weeks off every year. Two weeks a year is a hard out where I only respond to emergencies. The rest of the time I roughly plan on working about one or more hours/day. For example, I took a one week trip to Mexico with my son. I worked during his nap times responding to emails and making phone calls to our vendors or my staff, but I had no scheduled time with clients.
Work-life balance is critical in this overworked time of ours. This policy works for Storyvine, but we have tweaked it over time. (For example, staff doesn’t get this benefit until after they have been with us for six months.) If you plan on creating a new policy, work with your staff to find out what they want and expect to tweak it several times throughout the next 12 months or so until you get it right.