The modern workplace is experiencing a number of new trends that are taking over. From open offices, to casual dress codes and fully stocked kitchens, these once desired office ‘trends’ are now becoming the norm. One trend that hasn’t quite caught on yet is the concept of unlimited PTO.
Unlimited PTO, why would anyone offer their employees uncapped vacation? It’s easy to assume employees would jet off to Paris for a month or call out every Monday because they can. The truth is, most employees with unlimited PTO take about the same amount of time off as they used to. A lot of workers are wary of the policy, not wanting to abuse it by asking for too much time. Those who do take it, tend to use it in spurts instead of all at once. With most employees demonstrating self-control, the policy may be worth considering.
A good reason some employers are instating this trend is to project a culture of trust. Brett Farmiloe, Founder and CEO of Markitors, makes the point that he trusts his employees to do their work and make clients happy, so he decided to trust them to manage their own vacation time as well.
“If we can’t trust you with unlimited vacation, then we can’t trust you to do your job,” he said in an article written for SHRM. He takes it one step further and even offers employees $500 to go on vacation.
Besides boosting morale, there are a few more benefits this policy offers. HR would no longer have to tediously keep track of when each employee reaches their max number of days. Employees don’t need to drag themselves into the office when they have a contagious illness. Even worse, one study showed 1 in 10 Americans skip a funeral because they don’t want to use their PTO. With uncapped time off, employees would feel less pressure to come in on days they shouldn’t—and that’d really be nice during flu season.
As with all policies, it’s always good to take a step back and reevaluate what you currently have. Since reworking your time off policy can be daunting, here are some tips to checking if it’s even for you.
1. Does your office have employees who are passionate enough about their work to hold themselves accountable? If so, this could work!
2. Does your industry require set staffing levels? Would someone’s absence cause chaos? Yes? Then it’s better to leave your structured system in place.
3. Do people watch the clock and bolt at 5 on the dot? These are the same types who might abuse unlimited time off.
4. Do the people you work with value the time of others? If they do, you can trust they won’t leave mid-project for an impromptu trip.
After answering those, did it seem like this policy would work for your company? If so, just remember that it benefits both employers and employees alike. So, encourage your employer to join the 1% -- that is, the 1% of companies offering uncapped PTO! And, if this policy isn’t for you, then just focus on other trendy policies like casual dress codes or office puppies.