Not using that unlimited vacation? Let us pay for the vacay
Unlimited vacation policies are an increasingly popular "perk," but they can backfire. Employees may not feel they can afford to take the time off, or that they're asking for too much and so end up taking less time off than they would at a company that has a set amount of vacation days per year.
Mark Douglas, CEO of online marketer SteelHouse, decided the best way to give his employees unlimited vacation — and ensure that they would use it — was to give them money for their vacations.
"Buy your plane ticket on Monday and we'll reimburse you in full by Tuesday," said Douglas. "Can't front the money yourself? Here, use the company credit card. I want you to actually go somewhere and enjoy yourself."
SteelHouse offers employees a $2,000 annual vacation stipend — and if you don't use it, it goes to waste.
Matt Rissell, CEO and co-founder of time-tracking company TSheets, also pays his employees to take vacation — $1500 per year, per employee. The caveat? You have to completely disconnect while you're on vacation: No calls, no emails, no Slack — or you lose the bonus.
"27 employees have taken advantage of this benefit so far in 2017 — and I can assure you this requirement is strictly enforced," said Rissell.
Ervin & Smith also gives its employees vacation money in the form of a $1,300 Visa gift card. The money must be used toward travel, which Ervin & Smith president and CEO Heidi Mausbach feels is essential to creativity and helps employees "not only to reset, but to open our eyes to a new view — literally and figuratively — and return more positive and productive."
Three-Day Weekends and 30-Hour Work Weeks
Who among us has not come back from a three-day weekend feeling remarkably refreshed? Some CEOs see the positive difference a short week can make, and have made that happen for their employees.
SteelHouse has a three-day weekend once a month. And Cockroach Labs' name may make you want to run away, but their four-day week is pretty inviting.
Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals lets her employees take every Monday off.
"In our industry, most aesthetic professionals and spa owners take Mondays off to recoup from busy weekends, so it was a natural day for us to take off as well," said Rhonda Allison, founder and CEO.
Other companies quantify a full work week as fewer than eight hours a day.
"We work 'Swiss hours' from 11 am to 4 pm, which is enough time to get all of your work done without any wasted time," said Clarke Bowling, digital marketing manager at eXO Skin Simple. "It also gives you enough time to get in a workout before work (we regularly brag about how many miles we got in before our start time), plan a week-long juice cleanse, or work on a passion project."
Andrew O'Brien, CEO and founder of The Publicity Guy pays his team a full-time salary for a 30-hour workweek.
"[Employees] also choose their own schedule as far as what hours they work," said O'Brien. "They are more productive and willing to work hard than if they worked eight-hour days, five days a week."
Some companies keep the eight-hour days, technically, but assign one of those hours (in addition to a lunch break) to be used for non-work.
"I instituted 'self care hour' and so far it's worked well. Everyone in the company has the same hour off (we work across several time zones) and my staff has the freedom to do whatever they want during that hour — except work," said Jo Jensen, CEO and founder of Causeumentary.
Jensen was moved to implement the self-care hour when she noted that her female employees admitted feeling guilty when they weren't working. "They can watch TV, grab food, hang out with friends, exercise, get a manicure, walk their dog, etc. I generally go for a bike ride, walk my dog, or catch up on one of my favorite TV shows on Hulu. I find when I get back to work, I'm much more relaxed — and my staff is too."