Unlimited vacation? What an idea. Some of you are probably saying, “Are you serious?” The fact is that several companies are trying it. Netfilx did it and saw an increase in employee engagement and retention. GoHealth Insurance did it and saw growth increase 200 percent. Ask.com has said that the company saves time and money by not having to manage a paid time off system. The time is better spent on strategic priorities such as recruiting and retention efforts. (reference N.Y. Times What Makes American Skip Vacations? Sept. 7, 2014)
While I have not personally researched these efforts I like what they are trying to do. This way of dealing with vacation is treating employees as Adults, and not as Children. In my book The Ten Commandments of Management I talk a lot about breaking the old parent to child paradigm of the of the American work place. If you want to increase productivity and provide a better climate for a motivated work force treat people as Adults, not Children.
Of course if you are going to do this you also have to manage to outputs, not inputs. This is also a concept that I spend time on in the book. Managing to inputs promotes a culture where face time is what counts. When the boss and the employee are not clear about the outputs , then what they to manage is the tasks, the inputs, that the employee is doing and for how long. If I can get done what needs to be done in a shorter time than someone else, I still have to hang around because that is what is rewarded. Hard work is evaluated on the basis of how many hours I am there, regardless of whether the hours are productive.
On the contrary if I manage to outputs because I know what I am to produce then I can manage my time to get that done the way it suits me. If that means that I have to work more and longer sometimes then so be it, but then when I have delivered the output requirement of my job and things are less intense, I may well be able to find time for a vacation or just a day off.
Are you brave enough to try this? It will be a stretch for many managers and employees alike.