How Richard Branson allowed his office staff to go on vacation anytime, for any length of time

    On Tuesday, Branson posted on his blog post “Why We Allow Virgin Employees To Take As Many Weekends As They Want .


    A flexible schedule has changed how, where and when we do our work. Well, if work from 9 to 5 is no longer mandatory - why adhere to a strict annual vacation schedule?

    In the past few years, Netflix has been marginalized in the video streaming market. One of the keys to understanding how they intend to maintain their leadership lies in a very well thought out and bold initiative to change the rules of the game - or, to be more precise - to cancel them in a matter very close and important for most workers around the world: right to annual leave.

    I first learned about what Netflix did when my daughter Holly read an article in the Daily Telegraphand immediately sent me an excerpt from it with a very enthusiastic comment by mail: “Dad, look. This is something that I spoke about earlier and that I am sure it will be very Virgin-style: not to control the vacation of workers. ” Then she added: “I have a friend in the company that introduced the same thing - and they clearly reached the peak in all respects: team spirit, creativity and productivity above the roof.” Needless to say, I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know the details. An article in the Telegraph reported on Netflix’s new vacation policy, which, in principle, would more accurately be described as a rejection of any policy! It’s the same as somewhere they write that someone was offered a percentage of 0% - if it is zero, can it even be called a percentage?

    In general, simply put, this non-policy allows all paid staff to take vacations as long as they want. Neither employees need to ask permission to leave, nor their managers keep records of working hours of their absence at the office. It is assumed that the employees themselves decide when to take a couple of hours, a day, a week or a month (can I have a year? - approx. Per) vacation, if they are 100% sure that they and the team are on time for all projects and no way does not hurt the cause - or, for that matter, their careers!

    The Netflix initiative was driven by an increasing wave of requests from workers interested in how their new technology-driven daily routine (work anytime from home or anywhere they receive work mail and messages) is consistent with the old-school vacation policy. That is, if Netflix can no longer accurately track employee time at work, why maintain a different and outdated standard for controlling their time outside of it? The company agreed and explained in the “Reference Guide to a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility” (cool name - approx. Per.) That “We should focus on what people achieve and not how many hours a day they work. Since we abandoned the nine-hour working day policy, we do not need a vacation policy either. ”

    It’s always interesting to notice how often the adjectives “simple” and “smart” describe the smartest of innovations - well, this is definitely one of the simplest and smartest ideas that I have heard in a long time, and I'm glad to announce a similar (missing) policy for the mother companies in the UK and the USA where vacation policies could be absolutely draconian. If this innovation goes as well as expected, we will encourage all our branches to follow suit, which will be incredibly cool to follow.

    Do you think all jobs should get rid of annual vacation rules? share your thoughts in the comments.

    In a short video commentary by Branson of CNN, he added:

    “Treat people like human beings, give them this freedom - and I don’t think that they will abuse it. And they will do their job. ”

    As marginal notes, I’ll add only:

    • The idea of ​​introducing a free vacation schedule does not belong to Branson, but was invented by Netflix and scooped from a newspaper article by his daughter. However, the decision to introduce such a policy in the offices of Virgin is still his :)
    • The innovation will affect so far only two head offices of the company - in New York and London
    • The essence of the innovation is to choose when and how much anyone who can do their job well (no schedule lag) and who is 100% sure that his absence will not harm the company can go on vacation. Those. if the employee’s hat is always on, projects are flashing or he’s simply irreplaceable - he still won’t be able to take advantage of Branson’s offer :)

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