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My company offers unlimited vacation and yours should too: Henry Blodget

Henry Blodget

A few years ago, a seemingly radical trend started to take hold in the tech industry.

Instead of giving employees a fixed number of vacation days per year, companies dispensed with the "vacation day" concept and began allowing employees to take as much vacation as they wanted.

This policy, which was started by Netflix, was initially met with incredulity and trepidation. People thought it would lead to one of two extremes — either workplaces in which no one ever came to work... or workplaces in which no one ever took vacation, because of concerns that their bosses and colleagues would consider them slackers if they didn't voluntarily work 365 days a year. (In case you're curious, here's the presentation in which Netflix described its culture of freedom and responsibility).

At our company, Business Insider, we had some concerns about the policy. But, on balance, we liked the idea. So, we tried it.

Four years later, it has proven a big--if not unqualified--success.

Why?

Three main reasons:

 * The policy helps put everyone's focus on the quality and impact of our team's work rather the number of hours they put in

 * The policy treats people like the adults they are, giving them more freedom and responsibility to build the lives and jobs they want

 * The policy saves a lot of administrative hassle for everyone involved

The policy does require every member of our team to take responsibility for doing an excellent job. They need to communicate clearly and make sure someone else is handling their responsibilities when they're out. They need to create a lot of value for our readers and clients. But they have as much freedom as we can give them to do their work when and how they want. And if they can do a great job while talking a lot of time out of the office, we're happy to have them do that.

We do occasionally get questions about the policy. Some members of our team worry about the "slacker" perception and ask for guidance on how much vacation "as much as you want" really means. We also do have to occasionally remind some members of our team to take a break, lest they burn themselves out. 

But overall, the unlimited vacation policy is working well. I expect Richard Branson and Virgin, which are now adopting it, will enjoy it as well.