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Unlimited time off can spur productivity

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in Centerpiece,Leaders & Managers,People Management

employee productivityAmericans simply don’t know how to take a vacation.

Only 57% of U.S. workers use all the vacation days they’re allotted, compared with 89% of workers in France, a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found. Even when they are on vacation, 30% of U.S. workers will contact work, according to a Career­Builder survey.

How to turn it around? Try an “unlimited time off” policy.

At software company HubSpot, the policy hasn’t created the sort of chaos you might envision: It has made employees more efficient.

Instead of saving up vacation days, then rushing to “spend” them all at the end of the year, “employees take the vaca­­tion when they need it and we don’t have a spike of vacations at specific points of time,” says Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot.

When CEO Brian Halligan rolled out the plan two years ago, he saw it as an antidote to the dinosaur corporate culture depicted on “Mad Men.”

Likewise, GoHealthInsurance.com has an unlimited vacation policy that favors results over input, which in turn, creates productivity and loyalty.

“We don’t judge employees based on the number of lines of code they write, but instead on the impact their innovative ideas have on our users,” says Michael Mahoney, a vice president at GoHealthInsurance.com.

“If we trust employees to make the right decisions with the time they spend at work in pursuit of our aggressive goals, we can trust them to make responsible decisions about when they choose to take time off of work.”

The policy seems to be doing more good than harm. Mahoney’s company recorded a 200% increase in growth this year.

— Adapted from “Unlimited Vacation Doesn’t Create Slackers—It Ensures Productivity,” Lydia Dishman, Fast Company.

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