Unlimited Vacation: Why we actually want you to use it

Aug 22, 2019 Beth Monaghan

A couple of years ago, we decided to switch our vacation policy from accrued time to unlimited days. I thought employees would be overjoyed, but the reaction was mixed -- some were happy, some were skeptical and some were just plain confused: How much time is too much/too little? How much should I take at once? The answer was simple: You decide. 

We had to explain that we actually WANT people to take time off and that we were offering this benefit for a few reasons. One, it empowers employees to be the arbiters of good judgment. If we want a workforce of smart, intelligent, kind and creative people, we need to empower them to work in the ways that fuel creativity. Second, it provides employees the flexibility to take time off when they need to recharge, to disconnect and to stop using face time as a proxy for doing good work. We believe our work should be measured by ideas and results, not by how long you are in the office. 

We all need more space and fewer emails. We need more of what author Brenda Ueland called “slow, big ideas” in her book If You Want to Write back in the 1930s. She said, "The imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. These people who are always briskly doing something and as busy as waltzing mice, they have little, sharp staccato ideas…but they have no slow, big ideas.” And, since summer is the perfect time to take some time off, I thought I would ask our employees to share what unlimited vacation has allowed them to do -- from spending weeks disconnected from all civilization hiking deep in the Grand Canyon to taking part in hot air balloon festivals to spending the day with their kids at the beach.

Please enjoy the moodling...


Topics: Employees, policy, Culture, unlimited PTO, vacation
Beth Monaghan

Beth is the CEO of Inkhouse, which she co-founded in 2007 and has grown into one of the top ranked agencies in the country. Beth’s been recognized as one of the Top Women in PR by PR News, the Top 25 Innovators by The Holmes Report and as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Beth believes that shared values, and the freedom to create are the foundations of all meaningful work. She brings this philosophy to building a culture of creative progress at Inkhouse.

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