A County Down company that introduced unlimited annual leave for its staff has said the policy is “working really well” with no drop in productivity and a big increase in employee morale.
At the start of this year, Clearbox Communications offered staff the chance to take as many holidays as they liked – provided they continued to hit their agreed targets.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, Clearbox owner John Megaughin said the months since have seen a major drop in sick leave alongside big increases in punctuality and worker satisfaction.
“A lot of our staff are aged kind of 25 and under and that generation seems to want benefits that will enrich their life rather than their bank balance,” he said.
“So, we landed on the idea of giving it a go as a trial and seven or eight months later it seems to be working and hopefully, we’ll be keeping it going forward.”
He said people get paid the same salary regardless of how much annual leave they take.
“We are trying to build a culture here of freedom and responsibility so the emphasis is on our staff to ensure, first and foremost, that the work they do for our clients is of an excellent standard and that the work they do will still be done whenever they are away,” he said.
“That is basically it, no more than two people from the same team can be off at the same time.
“The emphasis really is on our staff to manage the process themselves because obviously, if somebody is off, their colleagues need to pick up work for them.
“So, as long as the work remains on the standard we expect then, if you want to take nine weeks off a year to go scuba diving and your client work is still outstanding, then who are we to say you can’t do it?”
Eight months into the experiment, Mr Megaughin said that, while about half the company has taken more leave than they normally would have, no one is “really trailing behind.”
“The reason it is working for us so far is that we have a team that trusts each other,” he said.
“Unlimited leave doesn’t work in all businesses in the same way that remote working doesn’t work in all businesses.
“Our team does trust each other. They trust themselves to get the work done and we trust them to get the work done and so far, it is working really well for us.
“I do believe that if someone was having excessive holidays - we’re talking coming in for two weeks of the year - I would guess their colleagues would call them up on that and they wouldn’t be around for much longer.”
Since the policy was introduced Clearbox has recorded a 71% drop in sick leave, a 77% increase in punctuality and 10% increase in the employee ‘happiness score’.
Mr Megaughin said recent weeks have seen people begin to travel internationally for the first time and noted that the next big challenge for the policy is what happens after COVID.
For now, he said the company aims to keep it going for as long as possible.
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