Last week, Virgin chairman Richard Branson made a surprising announcement. According to him, about 170 members of his personal staff are allowed to take days off whenever they like, without having to get permission from a manager or being limited to a specific number of vacation days. Sounds nice, right?
I’m not quite sure how this works. Branson noted that employees actually only leave when their work is complete and their team is good to go. Who determines that? Also, the unlimited vacation rule only applies to Branson’s personal staff, not the 50,000 people Virgin also employs.
Netflix has a similar policy that is generous with vacation time. I know my European friends are always shocked at how little vacation time we get in the U.S. compared to them. Many of us only get a couple of weeks, but some argue that it doesn’t help productivity.
As more and more people go freelance or work from home, I expect to see more companies adopting Branson’s model. Wouldn’t it be nice to, say, work on your laptop from Hawaii instead of your dull, dimly lit cubicle?