Monday, October 26, 2009

Don't Report Your Time Off?

WorldAtWork recently posted a blog entry titled: "Vacation time: Is It Time to Stop Tracking?" It's an interesting question and one which has a lot of different answers depending on who you ask. From WorldAtWork:
Many companies over the years have migrated from siloed leave policies that designate a specific number of days for vacation, sick leave and personal time off to paid time off (PTO) banks programs that provide a total set number of days off that employees can use for any reason. Newer, even more flexible, programs now provide employees with more informal personal time and vacation arrangements with their managers when it suits them, guided mainly by their ability to perform their jobs successfully.
Now this is much like an honor system, and like any honor system, you have the chance of abuse or free riders. But the idea makes sense. With people permanently tethered to Blackberries and the internet, the job doesn't have to stop when you leave the office. If people don't abuse the system, they'll get their job done and be happy, which should increase productivity even more. I once interviewed for a job that was run like this, though they expected you to make up for the time you missed...but you could miss as much as you wanted.

Some companies allow you to trade time off credits, work a Saturday/Sunday to get another day off, or other similar ways to make time off more flexible for the employees.

The problem here is this is not for every job. You still need to know when people are going to not be at their desks--especially in service-oriented companies--and reporting time off (or at least letting their managers know ahead of time) is one way to accomplish that. This also can only occur at companies where the management and the employees feel secure with one another. Employees have to feel comfortable enough with taking the time off (since there are issues with them feeling that way as it is) and employers need to feel comfortable enough in the fact the job will get done and the person will not abuse it.

But in the world of increasing attachment to the office, allowing an employee to have the ultimate "flex" time off doesn't mean they'll truly be away from the job and could be another "benefit" that separates your company from the rest when recruiting new employees.

Question to the audience: do any of your companies do this? what are your opinions on the subject?

1 comment:

  1. My company has a more informal policy - if you work hard and request the time, you will most likely get it. There is an amount of time you are supposed to get - and some barely use their vacation days while some go significantly over. There are only a few people who really take abuse the system - and the majority of the company appreciates the flexibility.


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