A Welsh production company has taken the decision to give its staff unlimited annual leave as a way of rewarding hard work and “treating staff like adults.” Cardiff-based EatSleepMedia has decided to follow the lead of big companies like LinkedIn, Netflix, and Dropbox with the idea.
It is a concept that has been traditionally popular in America where holiday entitlement doesn’t tend to be as generous as it is in the UK. Employees are given no set number of holiday days per year meaning they can, in theory, take as much or as little holiday as they like.
Netflix, which has been ranked by Forbes as one of the best employers in the world, was one of the first to offer unlimited holiday to its staff with the company saying they wanted the focus to be on the on the quantity and quality of the work output rather than the number of hours or days worked. Take-up in the UK has been low but Alex Feeney, co-founder and director of operations at EatSleepMedia, has explained why they think it will work for their company. He said: “The concept of unlimited holiday has been around for a while so it’s not a new thing for us to try. Many have gone before us. Some are happy with it, others have decided it’s not for them. One of the reasons why we have decided to have a look at it is for simplicity. Now no-one has to worry about how many days they’ve got left and whether or not they need two keep a few spare in case of emergencies. No-one should worry about taking time for a doctor or dentist appointment.”
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The team of 13 at the production company don’t work typical hours and often have jobs that see them working in the evenings, over weekends, and abroad. Alex added: “Keeping track of who worked when and what we owe them in terms of time off in lieu can be confusing. And we’ve got so many other things we can get confused about.
“This way it all becomes an irrelevance. Our staff take the time they need when they need it. We’ve got a good team. They’re really talented, they’re really engaged with what we do, and we like to think they enjoy working here. So we trust them to make the right decisions. Sometimes it can be more difficult actually making them take time off.
“In the main though this is about following our principles. We want to empower our team to take control of their time with us – to manage their holidays in the context of the company’s workflow. There may be times after completion of a project that they just need to take a day or two to decompress. Only fair. They may also need to take a day mid-project just to breathe. And that’s fine too.”
Included in the new unlimited annual leave policy is a minimum number of days holiday. The company say they will be monitoring annual leave and how the policy is working over the next 12 months, making adjustments they go along.
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