Accessability Links

Unlimited Holiday - Topic of the moment!

Posted by
29 Sep 2014
Richard Branson has been in the news and on social media recently for allowing his staff to have unlimited holiday. This seems to have got a lot of attention from all outlets, but is something that I am finding hard to imagine; how would it actually work, and what impact would this have?

So what are the positives?
  1. No two peoples personal situations are the same, this offers the flexibility to choose the days  that  can create the best work/life balance.
  2. People increasingly work outside of normal working hours, through evenings and weekends on laptops and mobile devices. The idea of working hours and locations is changing, so why shouldn't our concepts of holiday time?
  3. It shows a great deal of trust between the employee, team and organisation - there isn't a need to take holiday for the dentist or to take a home delivery - it shows that your employer trusts your judgement, and that you are making the right decisions for yourself.
  4. It is a fantastic selling point for attracting new talent to your business, it will make employees feel valued.
  5. It would make longer holidays more feasible, often a week isn't enough, but if you take two two week holidays, it doesn't leave very much for the rest of the year...
And the negatives?
  1. People exploiting the policy and taking too much annual leave. I think that this could easily happen, and would be a reality sooner than you think. This policy can only work with the right people, with the right attitude, with the same common goal.
  2. Employees not taking enough holiday each year - this is crucial to having a life outside of work. In an age where you can be contacted anywhere on the planet, it is important to have time to switch off, focus your energy elsewhere, and enjoy the fruits of your labour!
  3. Increasing the pressure on colleagues covering work. This is a given, and is unavoidable in most instances. I work in a team environment, and if I am not there, one of my colleagues is going to have to pick up my work.
I am not sure where I stand on this. Like most people, my initial thoughts are that it sounds fantastic but I think in practice it may not work. I work in an incredibly supportive, cohesive team and I would have no doubt that people would not exploit this should it be in place.

My concerns are that it would actually have the opposite affect and that employees would not take enough annual leave. Working within recruitment means that you have a lot of responsibility for your own work, and if you are not there not only do your colleagues have to pick up your work, but you are also not there for your clients and candidates. Whilst I have no doubt that my colleagues are more than capable of looking after my work and speaking with my clients and candidates, the control freak in me (which I think most recruitment consultants have?!) means that I would rather be dealing with that myself.

How do you think this policy would work? If you had an unlimited annual leave allowance, how many days do you think you would take each year? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.
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