August 13, 2020

If Unlimited Vacation Time Were a Thing, Could You Take It?

Surely you read the story of Virgin going unlimited on vacation. No? Here you go:

If the 9-to-5 workweek is a paradigm of the past, then why do so many businesses still cling to outdated vacation policies? That is the question posed by Richard Branson in an excerpt from his new book, The Virgin Way, where the billionaire announces that staffers at Virgin’s U.S. and United Kingdom headquarters will now receive unlimited vacation time — provided, of course, that they get their work done.

Right there is the rub. You can have all the time off you want if your work is done. Is your work ever done? Could this ever happen in public accounting? It already has.

Back in April, WTP Advisors announced unlimited vacation time, to little fanfare. From the press release they sent us:

WTP Advisors, a global tax and business advisory firm, has boosted its employee benefits exponentially this year, including offering unlimited vacation time.  Touting its already generous policies, as well as the notable additions to the benefits roster this year will help WTP document its dominant position in the professional service industry as a great place to work, and  continue to attract and retain top talent.

“As a company of entrepreneurs, we want to adopt policies that make the most sense for self-starting, motivated, and highly independent employees,” says Michael Minihan, partner and co-founder of WTP Advisors.

WTP’s company culture is vastly different than most consulting firms: micromanagement is a dirty word. Instead there’s the expectation that every single person in the firm will develop and execute new, innovative ideas to enhance the business.

“We want to reward our staff in a way that’s meaningful to them,” says Minihan. “Offering unlimited vacation days is a way to do this.”

WTP is back in my inbox this morning saying "see, we were doing that before Richard Branson made it cool." WTP says unlimited vacation made sense for them for the following reasons:

  • In the consulting business, client projects account for more than 85% of staff time.
  • During parts of the year you could be working 7 days a week, while other times are naturally slower.
  • This policy allows an employee to have the flexibility to take more time off when they are not as busy without negatively impacting the company’s bottom line.
  • As a company of entrepreneurs, we want to adopt policies that make the most sense for self-starting, motivated, and highly independent employees.

If you work 7 days a week, you definitely deserve to take some damn time off whenever you like once the work is done.

PwC already offers unlimited sick days, which are like vacation days without the fancy hotels and TSA gropings, really. Unlimited vacation? Not gonna happen.

 

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