How ‘Unlimited’ Is Unlimited Vacation?

Unlimited vacations sound like a big boost for employee morale and a deep financial hole for small businesses. The fact is it’s a win-win for all involved. While unlimited vacation policies remain minimally used today, they’re growing in demand from employees and provide surprising benefits to employers offering them. Even if you think your organization could never offer them, consider a closer look.

Employee Benefits

The Society for Human Resource Management noted that 77 percent of HR decision-makers felt that their employees who take a majority of their vacation time are more productive than those who don’t. Another 74 percent explained that vacations improve job satisfaction. More than two-thirds of those polled noted that employee engagement rose. What happens when the unlimited vacation becomes an opportunity, then?

The report noted that some companies found employees don’t actually take more time off than they did previously. Why, then, offer it if employees don’t necessarily plan to take weeks off throughout the year?

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Employer Gains

Employers that offer unlimited vacation time experience gains in various ways. Those employees who take more time off tend to need it. That means they may come back recharged, more productive and even a bit healthier. And, for those who don’t take extra time, it still provides key benefits to employers, including:

  • Improved company standing – By simply offering it, you boost your employees’ — and would-be employees’ — view of your company. This shows that you care about their well-being.
  • Increased trust – You’re demonstrating to your employees that you trust them. You trust them to be there for their families and their needs, but to step up and be there to help the company succeed, as well.
  • Fostered personal freedom – You empower your employees as individuals rather than providing a blanket level of vacation time, respecting that every employee is unique.

Additionally, employers often benefit from reduced costs because departing employees don’t cash in on their way out. And, you’ll likely attract better talent since this is one of the most aggressive offers you can put on the table to lure in new employees.

The key here is making it work. How do you encourage employees to use unlimited vacationing to both of your advantages?

Designing Effective Policies

As explained, every company’s use and flexibility with this type of vacation time policy will need to be customized to meet their needs. Your organization shouldn’t just state employees can take any amount of time off they want. Instead, create well-thought-out policies that provide some framework and guidance.

It’s important to outline basic rules in writing, according to Inform employees how much time off at one time is acceptable, along with how long in advance they need to book that time off. It’s important that when an employee is on vacation, they don’t receive emails, texts or phone calls. Respect their time off, as it shows you care about giving them a quality break.

Keeping track of how the time is taken is also a good idea, noted. Doing so will let you see how well the new policies work for your organization. Encourage employees to share their thoughts and concerns with the program. It’s also a good idea to include your employee relations attorney in the planning process. Ensure the most up-to-date employment laws in your state aren’t overstepped by these policies.

Any business can use and benefit from unlimited vacations if they play an active role in the process. If you notice employees aren’t participating, it may because they worry about taking too much time off. In other cases, they may not understand the practice. Create policies and work on them to ensure they consistently reflect your current workforce’s needs.

Sandy Baker is a full-time freelance writer specializing in health, personal finance and internet marketing. Her long-term history online has included publications with companies including Marriott Hotels, The New York Times and dozens of other small and medium-sized businesses. She is also published in print with award-winning books such as The Complete Guide to Estate Planning, Complete Guide to Early Retirement, The Complete Bankruptcy Guide for Consumers and Small Businesses and The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care.

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