The Virgin Group of companies is in the testing with “every employee can take a vacation anytime and for any amount of time”

The followers of my blog knows that Richard Branson is my favourite entrepreneur and he continue to amaze me with what he is building around the Virgin brand. In fact, two of my goals are: 1. to share the stage with him and second to spend a week with my family on Necker Island. And, currently I have more that 30 goals to accomplish in the next period.

Richard Branson in his Hammock on Necker Island
Richard Branson in his Hammock on Necker Island

In the past few years, Netflix has become the runaway market leader in the streaming video sector.

One clue as to how they intend to remain there this time comes from a very well-advised and downright courageous initiative they adopted that rewrote the book – or to be more precise, threw it away – on something very near and dear to the hearts of most workers around the world: their annual vacation day entitlement.

Richard first learned of what Netflix was up to when his daughter Holly read a Daily Telegraph article and immediately forwarded the piece to him with a clearly excited email saying, ‘Dad, check this out. It’s something I have been talking about for a while and I believe it would be a very Virgin thing to do to not track people’s holidays.’ She then went on to say, ‘I have a friend whose company has done the same thing and they’ve apparently experienced a marked upward spike in everything – morale, creativity and productivity have all gone through the roof.’ Needless to say I was instantly intrigued and wanted to learn more.
The Telegraph article talked about the new vacation policy that has been adopted by Netflix, which might actually be more accurately described as being, well, no policy! It’s a little bit like when you read that someone is offering a ‘zero per cent interest rate’. If there’s no interest can it really be called an interest rate?

Anyway, simply stated, the policy-that-isn’t permits all salaried staff to take off whenever they want for as long as they want. There is no need to ask for prior approval and neither the employees themselves nor their managers are asked or expected to keep track of their days away from the office. It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred per cent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers! Take the rest of the article here and see how Virgin Group started to implement this.


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