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The Pros and Cons of Unlimited Vacation Days

Forget two weeks vacation. More and more companies are now offering unlimited vacation days and seeing surprisingly favorable results. Brands like GrubHub, Evernote, Netflix and even General Electric have taken the plunge. Before you send your employees off for a tropical getaway, gain a thorough understanding of the implications.


The Pros

An Excellent Recruiting Tool

The talent level of your workforce inevitably impacts your company’s bottom line. Recruiting the best and brightest puts you at a competitive advantage that can pay dividends long-term. It’s safe to say that offering unlimited vacation days can be a tremendous asset for recruiting, especially for the younger generations of millennials and Gen Z’ers who don’t want work to dominate their lives.


Healthier Work/Life Balance

There’s a lot of talk about achieving a healthy work/life balance these days. Modern employees are becoming collectively burned out with the increasingly long work weeks and looking to reduce their stress. What better way to recharge your employees’ batteries than offering unlimited vacation days?


Improved Morale

Combine increased job satisfaction with less stress and more time for employees to focus on their personal lives, and you’re bound to experience improved morale. This can translate into a host of benefits like increased productivity, lower absenteeism/tardiness, and reduced turnover.


The Cons

Not Viable for All Industries

Unlimited vacation days may work well for a small tech startup where hours don’t really matter as long as the job gets done. But it can be a disaster for a larger manufacturing company where the number of hours worked directly impacts output and productivity.


It Can Lead to Abuse

Let’s be honest. Most companies are bound to have a few employees who are a little too willing to take full advantage of this type of working arrangement. In turn, it can be a catalyst for indolence.


It Can Be a Scheduling Nightmare

Coordinating long-term projects can be next to impossible when you’re not sure who’s going to be available. It can be especially problematic if there’s a “linchpin” employee whose absence throws the entire operations off.


Is it Feasible for Your Company?

Implementing a vacation policy such as this demands careful consideration. It’s by no means something you want to jump into on a whim. Some key factors to consider include your industry, working environment and just how comfortable you feel with the idea.

If you do decide to allow unlimited vacation days, establish parameters that dictate how far in advance employees must notify you before they go on vacation. This should minimize disruptions and ensure that you have adequate manpower on any given day. Be sure to address this on your company’s vacation policy. You can find a sample unlimited vacation policy template from Workable.

Going all-in on unlimited vacation days has become fairly mainstream, but it’s not right for everyone. Carefully weighing the pros and cons and assessing the needs of your company should let you know whether it’s a viable move or not.


Best Vacation Policies

Tips for Creating the Best Vacation Policies

Vacation time is something that many companies offer workers as a way to improve their health and well being. While you aren’t legally obligated to provide your employees with vacation time, it comes with some inherent advantages. Here are some reasons for doing so and tips for creating the best vacation policies.


Employee Vacation Benefits

By giving your employees time to relax and recharge their batteries, they can return to their jobs refreshed. This is advantageous because there is a correlation between rest and productivity. A study by CCH Human Resources Management states that “more than 50% of employees feel more “rested, rejuvenated and reconnected to their personal life” and that nearly 40% of workers feel more productive and better about their job when returning from vacation.”

Some other benefits are that it’s an asset for attracting better talent within your industry, can improve your reputation and is likely to strengthen rapport between you and your team members. On the other hand, employee burnout benefits no one and can be a hindrance to productivity and overall progress.


Vacation Request Form

When setting best vacation policies, there are a four key points you will need to consider. First, you need to decide how many days each employee will receive per year. A common practice is to offer individuals that have been there longer more vacation days and vice versa. For example, employees might receive two weeks their first year, three weeks after five years and four weeks after 10+ years.Second, you need to determine whether you are going to pay employees during their time off.  You may want to pay for all vacation days, no vacation days or for a certain number of days (e.g. the first week).

Third, you should decide how long the waiting period will be. Many employers set a policy where workers must wait six months or a year before vacation time can be used. Finally, there needs to be a certain notice time that employees adhere to when asking for time off (e.g. two weeks or a month). Creating a vacation request form is relatively easy to do. You can make one from scratch or you can use a template such as this.


Vacation Calendar

Keeping track of who is off and on which days is important. Without some level of organization, you may end up shorthanded and unable to maintain effective operations. Creating a vacation calendar is a good solution and should ensure that you have adequate manpower throughout the year. If you’re a small business with only a handful of employees, this should be pretty easy to track and simply posting a calendar in a central location will give everyone an overview of vacation days.

When dealing with several employees, you will probably want something more sophisticated. In this case, using a platform like Microsoft Outlook Calendar to create group schedules can streamline things. This tutorial will walk you through the process.  If you need something even more comprehensive, there are numerous types of employee scheduling software on the market, and this resource will give you an overview of the top products.

Although you’re not legally required to offer your employees time off, doing is mutually beneficial and can improve your business as a whole. Creating the best vacation policies possible along an organized game plan should ensure that shifts are still covered during employee vacation time.

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