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

Since the early days working around her kitchen table, Beth has grown Inkhouse into one of the top independent PR agencies in the country. She’s been named a Top Woman in PR by PR News, a Top 25 Innovator by PRovoke, and an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Beth designed Inkhouse’s signature Storytelling Workshop to mirror the literary hero’s journey and to unearth the emotional connections that bind an audience to a brand or idea. She also uses narratives to build Inkhouse’s culture, most recently through two books of employee essays, “Hindsight 2020” and “Aren’t We Lucky?”

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