A lot of commotion was caused recently when Richard Branson announced that Virgin (and all of its subsidiaries) would embrace an “unlimited vacation” policy:
I love it.
@SOCIALDEVIANT, we’ve had an unlimited vacation policy since we opened our doors in February of 2012. Mr. Branson, welcome to the club.
Why have we done this?
Well, the obvious answer is that we’re striving to be the world’s kindest company, and so kind companies of course offer great benefits, and lots of them.
But that’s not the real answer.
The real answer, is that kind companies treat their talent with ultimate respect. Kind companies trust that their talent is accountable, responsible, and behaves in ways that are both personally beneficial and beneficial for the greater good.
And SOCIALDEVIANT talent is all this, and more. No one ever takes advantage. Ever.
Now the pushback on Mr. Branson is fair. In a world of unlimited vacation, the reality is people take NO vacation, too sheepish to actually schedule any time away.
And, truth be told, we found this to be the case. Great insight – too much freedom of choice actually constrained the choice, and created the illusion of no choice.
So, we’ve modified the policy, as follows. Beginning in January of 2014, our vacation policy now reads as follows: “You have unlimited vacation – take whatever time you’d like away from the office. The requirement is that you will take a minimum of two weeks vacation per calendar year.”
One of the big reasons why – we believe life is about collecting skills and experiences. It’s very, very difficult to collect a lot of experiences hanging around the office day in and day out for 52 weeks of the year. We relish the chance for everyone to gain as much exposure to new ideas, new thinking, new approaches as possible – especially when they are out of our industry. All the better to stretch the mind and invigorate the creative juices.
So, indeed – we are now making sure that every deviant knows that we dearly value them, dearly trust them, and dearly want them to take time off. The very best of both worlds – take as much time as you can (because we trust that everyone operates within the boundaries of their work responsibilities) but you MUST take at least two weeks.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Virgin follows suit. Eventually, all great companies listen and react to the people that make their company what it is. And no great company would ever begrudge their talent time to recharge, re-energize, and re-connect with family and friends outside of work.