Unlimited Vacation? Yes It Exists

Imagine, if you will, that you have spent the past 2 weeks hammering away on a project that is as time intensive as it is mentally taxing. You’ve spent the past two evenings preparing for today’s huge presentation and deprived yourself of sleep. After today, you get to return to the process tasks essential to your position but not immediately pressing. Lucky for you, your employer allows you the opportunity to sleep in tomorrow, then work remotely for the remainder of the day. Or, better yet, because you have finished your work week by Thursday afternoon, you get to take off a little early and enjoy a  three day weekend. Pretty slick, right? You get to return to work fully rejuvenated with the motivation to perform at your best. What’s that? Value.


Sounds awesome, right? Unlimited vacation perpetuates the ideal work environment, freeing employees from the restraints of vacation policy and IT companies nationwide are trying it out. Netflix, Pocket, Zynga, Groupon, Hubspot and Prezi are three companies that have embraced the sweeping trend of unlimited vacation. This trend seems to stem from a prompt for improved work-life balance. What’s that old saying? “Work hard, play harder.”

Now, don’t misunderstand. Unlimited vacation does not mean you can take the year off or “phone it in” all of the time. Much like the idea of lean processes, unlimited vacation prioritizes added value over hours worked. Value is added to a company when tasks and deadlines are met and completed regardless of hours on site. Each company will have it’s own policies so make sure to read the fineprint. One potential consequence of unlimited vacation is that it can actually result in employees taking less vacation time. This is especially true when companies fail to set a minimum or suggest norms for a reasonable amount of vacation time. Without any guidance, good employees may err on the side of taking less vacation time. So instead of adding value by rejuvenating employees, the policy can actually lead to more burnout.

Essentially, the idea is that you work until the work is done, then you make your own judgements on what to do next. The ability to finish your work at your own pace and use the rest of your time as you see fit promotes happiness and promotes motivation and trust. In the end, this aids in job satisfaction and employee retention and that is good for business.

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