After speaking to several people last week who work for U.S. companies with unlimited vacations, I can see why. Most worked at tech start-ups and were happy enough with the policy. But the story that sticks in my mind came from a woman who was initially thrilled to be able to take two weeks off for her honeymoon this year.
The trouble was, she had been invited to a wedding abroad early next year and did not think she could go because she felt "too nervous" about asking for another week off. So much for unlimited leave.
The interesting thing is that she was thinking of switching jobs and did not want to go back to a job with the traditional two weeks of paid vacation a year.
That underlines something that I had not thought about before: Some companies are doing better at using open holiday schemes to make their workers less exhausted, happier and potentially more productive. But they probably have to be run by people like Aron Ain, chief executive of the Kronos management software group. He decided to introduce open vacations at the beginning of 2016, after struggling to recruit workers. But he did not do it willy-nilly, as he explains in this month's Harvard Business Review.
He decided to return any savings to employees, by boosting maternity leave and other benefits. He used a consultant to figure out pitfalls, such as people being afraid to ask for too much time off. He also tried to sidestep such problems by insisting employee leave was tracked to make sure managers were handling leave requests fairly.
The result: Employees took off an average 2.6 more days last year than in 2015. Voluntary turnover dropped. Workers said they were happier and Ain thinks it is no coincidence that 2016 was Kronos's best financial year ever.
I am not sure about that link but I have revised my opinion. I can see that there are upsides to unlimited vacations, but only at companies with an unlimited commitment to making sure that they actually work.
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This article originally appeared on the Financial Times.