Kevin O'Leary says he expects all his employees to work on vacation—here's why

Why Kevin O'Leary expects all of his employees to work on vacation

In the eyes of "Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary, work knows no bounds — even during vacation.

"I don't have a division anymore between vacation time and work. It's always both," O'Leary tells CNBC Make It. "I work every day."

And that rule also applies to his employees: "Do I expect my employees to respond to me when they're on vacation? 100%," he says.

When it comes work, O'Leary says he doesn't care whether his employees are on vacation, taking a personal day or coming into the office at a later time: "I just want you to get the task done. How you do it is your business," he says.

The investor has roughly 35 employees within all of his O'Leary Financial Group divisions, which include O'Leary Ventures, O'Leary books and O'Leary Fine Wines.

"My employees are all over the country and sometimes all over the world. They're working 24/7, or they're not, but they're getting the job done, and that's the way the economy is going to roll. You don't have a 9-to-5 anymore," he says.

According to a recent LinkedIn survey, O'Leary may not have to convince his American employees to work while on vacation. Nearly 60% of the workers who were surveyed said they engage in work duties while taking time off, amid mounting pressure to always be on the job.

Jack Ma has a similar viewpoint. Earlier this year, the Alibaba founder said in a message to his employees that young people should see major tech companies' overtime work cultures as a "huge blessing."

But not everyone agrees with O'Leary's work philosophy. While Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has said that the 9-to-5 work week will eventually die off, he believes that people will instead "work smarter, not longer" as more technology is implemented in various industries.

If "governments and businesses are clever, the advance of technology could actually be really positive for people all over the world," Branson wrote in a blog post last year. As a result, he said, people might be able to take up to four-day weekends.


Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has also said that the advancements in technology will lead to more time off for workers.

"Well, certainly we can look forward to the idea that vacations will be longer at some point," Gates told FOX Business Network last year.

"The purpose of humanity is not just to sit behind a counter and sell things," he continued. "More free time is not a terrible thing."

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to ABC's "Shark Tank."

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