Why Small Businesses Should Consider Unlimited Vacation Time

July 18, 2016 Pete Jansons

 

Out of office written on a card at the desk

Unlimited vacation time sounds like a worker’s dream and an employer’s nightmare. What company in its right mind would implement a policy where staff members can take off however much time they want? Nothing would get done, and the business would go belly up, right?

Tell that to Netflix, LinkedIn, Virgin Group, Grubhub, Grant Thornton, and others that offer unlimited time off as part of their benefits packages.

Despite the reasonable fear of things getting out of control, studies have shown employees do not abuse the system. In fact, simply knowing they can take unlimited time off provides them with more job satisfaction.

Likewise, don’t dismiss the issue as something only large companies should consider. Such an arrangement has plenty of potential benefits for a small business. Here are a few things you stand to gain:

You’ll look cutting-edge. Only 2 percent of companies currently offer unlimited paid time off, though the figure is slowly-but-surely growing. Adopting such a plan now can help brand your small business as progressive.

You’ll attract talent. Unlimited paid time off can be a great recruiting tool that distinguishes you from competitors, including many bigger firms that can offer higher starting salaries. Millennials seem especially drawn to flexible arrangements, so this setup can be an effective way to gain attention from this in-demand age group. On the opposite end, seasoned workers also can be lured because they won’t have to work their way up again on vacation allotment if they leave their present employer to come work for you.

You’ll do less bookkeeping. While not a primary reason for setting up an unlimited time off policy, such a system does reduce paperwork by no longer tracking days used and carryover. One less administrative task means more time available to grow your small business. Many companies also like that they don’t have to worry about paying out unused days if an employee leaves. Such a lump sum can be difficult for a small business to handle, especially if the departure was unexpected.

You’ll build a better staff. Workers tend to thrive in environments that encourage work-life balance. They truly appreciate the opportunity to take their dream tour of Europe or spend time with an ailing parent. In return, their loyalty grows, which can help prevent costly turnover. Employers often notice workers collaborating with each other to ensure vacation plans do not overlap and the office remains productive. Likewise, leaders report individuals commonly putting forth extra effort before and after their absences. Undoubtedly, much of this behavior stems from professionalism, the desire not to be labeled a “slacker,” and fear of losing the benefit. However, don’t discount the inherent value of time off itself. Enabling workers a chance to refresh and recharge outside of the workplace can reduce stress, spark creativity, and boost energy – all of which can help you get the most out of your small team.

Want more small business leadership advice and resources? Learn about the essential elements of a standout recruitment strategy

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