Does an Unlimited PTO Policy Sound Too Good to Be True?

Paid time off is somewhat of an anomaly to the business owner. They don’t want to provide too little and destroy morale, yet they don’t want to lose capital by providing too much to their employees. It might seem strange to suggest unlimited paid time off, but according to some business owners, it might be a quality solution to this dilemma, with enough care put into its integration.

Let’s examine the current state of paid time off in the workplace. Most businesses use a PTO model that allocates them a certain amount of hours over time, either annually or on a monthly basis. These employees generally need to put in requests for time off at least two weeks prior to the time-off date. This provides the team with a limited amount of time to recuperate, which ultimately limits how much work can be accomplished at maximum capacity.

According to Zach Ferres, the CEO of Coplex, unlimited paid time off can be exceptionally useful, and offers a unique return on investment that can help your team truly achieve greatness:

Employers who offer unlimited PTO report increased employee satisfaction, improved work-life balance and greater productivity. Plus, unlimited PTO can be a huge selling point when you’re recruiting, and it will actually save your HR department an average of 52 hours per year.

One popular company that has implemented this policy with great success is the video streaming service Netflix. Last year, Virgin founder Richard Branson followed suit, as reported by Business Insider:

Virgin founder Richard Branson recently declared that the company’s employees can take as many vacation days as they want, provided that “their absence will not in any way damage the business “” or, for that matter, their careers!” Branson said that he got the idea from Netflix.

Unlimited PTO can help your team feel like human beings, and can drastically improve operations if integrated properly. After all, when you feel good, you work good, too. Additionally, when employees are responsible for their own paid time off, it can instigate an increased rate of team playing and increased synergy. According to Ferres, here’s how it’s done.

Trust Your Employees
Integrating any kind of unlimited PTO policy requires a certain level of trust, so it’s important that you can trust your employees not to abuse the privilege and get work done. If they start to abuse the privilege, it might be time to let go of the project before it even begins. On the opposite side of the spectrum, however, the unlimited PTO policy shows your employees that you trust them.

Put a Mandatory Minimum PTO Policy into Place
Some employees tend to not take vacation, breaks, or other PTO, even when there’s no repercussions for doing so. These employees tend to get burned out more than others, and vacation benefits them more than it does for some. Integrate a minimum number of hours that an employee must take off annually to keep the stress as low as possible.

Use a Solid Process for Time-Off Requests
You can’t have people randomly coming into the office and leaving without any semblance of order. Therefore, you should keep a policy in place that helps you determine how to process time-off requests. Ideally, you want to be notified several weeks ahead of time, and establish a way in which tasks ordinarily assigned to the team member get divvied up to others (if they’re urgent).

Keep Track of Who Takes Time Off
Naturally, a business owner wants to keep track of PTO records. This helps them ensure that nobody is abusing the right, and that those who are taking advantage of the system are doing so properly. This also helps you keep track of the employees who haven’t been taking time off, which makes it much easier to encourage them to do so.

Is an unlimited PTO policy the best solution for your business? Maybe not; but it’s certainly an option that both you and your team can get behind, if the proper measures are taken to keep operations in order.

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