Written by Christian Seeney.
Opinion: Should companies begin to consider offering unlimited holiday to their staff?
This debate arises in the Mayday office quite a few times as I (Christian) have seen companies moving away from the traditional amount of holiday and trusting their employees to take unlimited holiday. Out of the staff in the Mayday office 3 people believe unlimited holiday would work in our office. In this blog, I am going to give you my view on unlimited holiday.
The reason I decided to write about this topic is because I was reading the recruiter at work and I read an article about a recruitment agency offering their staff unlimited holiday. The idea behind offering unlimited holiday was to allow their staff the freedom to make a responsible choice that offers them the chance to balance work and life. Companies including Virgin, Netflix and LinkedIn have all moved to unlimited holiday as they believe working adults do not track the time spent on work at home, so why should they track how much time an employee has off? Now I personally believe unlimited holiday could work in any business if the employees use the benefit responsibly. The bigger the business, the easier this benefit will be to implement as there is more staff to cover the workload left. Smaller businesses may struggle to implement this benefit due to having less staff in the office to cover the work load left by the person going on holiday. However, the reason companies are offering unlimited holiday is they trust their employees to take holiday when they are ahead or up to date with work and they must keep their manager up to date. Companies have noticed an increase in staff morale and productivity and have also noticed that on average staff take around 40 days holiday a year even with the option of taking unlimited holiday.
Applying unlimited holiday to recruitment, it would work better for agencies who work with permanent placements. This is because the contact between consultant, client and candidates tends to be over the phone. All interview arrangements and placements can be arranged before the consultant goes away or can be dealt with by another colleague in the office during the consultant’s time off. Temporary recruitment on the other hand tends to be more face to face especially between consultant and candidate. Clients can call with very urgent bookings that need to be dealt with immediately. If the consultant that runs the desk is constantly away, other colleagues must pick up the urgent bookings and concentrate on that before their own work. Having said this, I believe unlimited holiday could work for any agency and the reason I believe this is because companies should trust their staff to make a responsible decision and staff should consider the effect on the business when booking holiday. Doing some research into this topic, I could not find many recruitment agencies that have offered unlimited holiday to their staff. In fact, I only found one agency that have decided to offer unlimited holiday and they found that staff are grateful for the chance and work very hard before and after their holidays. The company have set rules in place to ensure staff are not all off at once and a suitable amount of notice is given before taking a holiday. The company believe that high performance is integrated in their business and therefore trust their staff to act responsibly.
To conclude, unlimited holiday is a fantastic benefit and when used responsibly could work very well in many businesses. With an increase in companies offering flexible working hours and even the option to work from home, the future could see an increase in companies offering unlimited holiday as part of their employment package.