Sir Richard Branson is to remove limits on the amount of holiday Virgin employees can take each year in the hope it will boost morale, creativity and productivity.
The Virgin boss believes that stripping away the company’s holiday policy and allowing staff to take breaks when and as often as they wish will have long term benefits for his business.
Writing on his Virgin blog, Sir Richard said: “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!”
He said the focus should be on how much people get done rather than how much time they spend on it.
“The Netflix initiative had been driven by a growing groundswell of employees asking about how their new technology-controlled time on the job (working at all kinds of hours at home and/or everywhere they receive a business text or email) could be reconciled with the company’s old-fashioned time-off policy,” he wrote.
“That is to say, if Netflix was no longer able to accurately track employees’ total time on the job, why should it apply a different and outmoded standard to their time away from it?
“The company agreed, and as its ‘Reference Guide on our Freedom and Responsibility Culture’ explains, ‘We should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days worked. Just as we don’t have a nine-to-five policy, we don’t need a vacation policy.’”