Working from home with unlimited vacation days may sound like an endless beach party, but sometimes it isn’t enough to get people some time-off.
I asked remote companies to tell me more about their vacation practices. They are encouraging their team members to take the time they need for a vacation to stay healthy and sharp at work.
"Like many other tech companies, we used to have an unlimited vacation policy as a way to encourage employees to take vacation days when it felt best to them.
When unlimited vacation didn’t seem to be working, because it’s hard to tell how much time unlimited really is, we switched to a minimum vacation policy this time last year."
"Trusting your teammates is everything at a remote company. If you can’t trust the people you work with, things fall apart quickly. That’s probably the main reason we’ve instituted an unlimited vacation policy. We train and trust our team to make the best decisions for the company. We trust them with the time they spend on work so it makes sense to me to trust them with the time they take off too.
We’re big on having each others’ backs here at WP Buffs so people who might want to abuse the policy wouldn’t last long here anyway. And people seem to like the autonomy of taking time off when it makes sense.
"Balsamiq used to have an "unlimited vacation days", but they realized that it wasn’t enough, people were not taking enough vacation. So now their policy is "take AT LEAST 20 days off a year", which works much better."
"We have an unlimited vacation policy where we don’t track the amount of time off people are taking, and encourage them to take time for themselves as they need it. If someone is just taking a couple days off we don’t require more than a week’s notice, and only ask for a few weeks notice if they’re going to be out for a week or longer.
We’re a small company where everyone knows each other so if someone goes on vacation we’ll need to pick up their slack a bit, but everyone understands the importance of vacation time and is willing to cover for each other when we take time off.
So far, everyone’s been responsible with this policy and there haven’t been any issues!"
Unlimited vacation days are based on trust and trusting your team is everything, especially in a remote company where people work autonomously.
Minimum vacation policy also makes very much sense as it helps to build good practice in a team to take vacations regularly. It can be difficult to take some time-off when anyone else never does.