Finding and retaining top talent is on the minds of just about every company. Making a workplace comfortable and fun is a great way to woo potential hires and keep employees from straying to other firms.
Aside from healthy salaries and great benefits, offering flexible work schedules and lots of vacation time is great way to keep personnel happy. A report from Remote.co — a remote work consultancy and search platform — recently assembled a list of companies that do not put a cap on the amount of vacation time their employees are allowed.
For a look at the ten companies Remote.co highlight that offer their people free reign in the time-off category, check out our slideshow below.
Offering employees the ability to decide for themselves how much time off they require is a liberated approach to employee benefits. But that trust is often well-placed says Noah Callaway, co-founder and partner of Apsis Labs, three year-old Seattle-based custom software development firm whose clients include Natera, Boku and Webber Shandwick.
“I trust in our employees to do the right thing,” says Callaway, whose firm is comprised of just seven people. “As a small company, one of the main things that we’re looking for are people we can trust.”
On average, says Callaway, employees take between three and four weeks of their unlimited vacation time per year. An understanding exists within the organization that time off should not be taken in the midst of a sizable product delivery for a client. But emphasis is placed on the need to rest and decompress, and Apsis actually mandates that personnel take at least three weeks off a year. “People are more productive when they’re able to work in a long term, sustainable way,” says Callaway. “Giving people the time to take breaks and get separation from their company and mentally recharge helps them when they come back to be productive and focused.”
An open vacation policy seems luxurious. But perhaps that’s a U.S.-based reaction. According to Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist at Remote.co, U.S. employees rank near the bottom for allotted vacation time in the industrialized world. “The idea that unlimited time off makes employees more responsible seems to be proven — one of the interesting side effects of unlimited vacation policies that we’ve heard from multiple companies interviewed at Remote.co is that employees who have it often take too little vacation, instead of too much. So, some companies have actually started creating minimum vacation days to encourage employees to take more time away from work.”
In order to truly enforce vacation time, one of the companies on the list tries to block its employees from conducting company business while on leave. Elite SEM, a 13 year-old digital marketing firm headquartered in New York that employs 170 people, actually changes the passwords of personnel who are on break so they cannot log into the company system and receive or send emails. CEO Ben Kirshner enacted the unlimited vacation policy upon launching the firm. “I think people appreciate the flexibility and the lack of micro management,” he told FORBES. “We have never had anyone abuse the policy so we haven’t had to adjust it much since 2004.”
Leaving free time allotment up to employees is all well and good for relatively small companies in which everyone knows everyone and absences are conspicuous, but can it work in larger organizations? It seems it can — well-known large organizations like Netflix, LinkedIn and GrubHub have embraced the policy. “The key is making sure managers are aware of the policy and that they are encouraging employees to take time off,” says Reynolds. “And with global companies especially, this type of policy can help ease the burden of tracking paid holidays, vacation time, and other time off accrued and taken, which can vary from country to country.”