It was recently announced that Sir Richard Branson, head of The Virgin Group, is now offering his personal staff unlimited holidays. This uncapped time off can be taken at any time, without the need to gain prior approval. In addition, employees do not have to state when they will be back, whether they intend to take a day, a week or even a month off. The only assumption Sir Richard has made is that the taking of these holidays will not restrict the ability of the company to function and therefore not damage the business in any way.
Currently, the unlimited holiday scheme applies to the 170 private staff who work in the business tycoon’s family office, his marketing and PR teams, investment teams and the Virgin Unite Foundation. However, Mr Branson is actively encouraging other Virgin companies to follow suit in adopting the scheme. Although the Virgin boss is not the first to offer this innovative holiday procedure to his employees, this is certainly the most high profile case. Other companies would do well to follow Virgin’s example, as the modern business world needs modern working practices to suit.
The average workplace of today is already quite different to that of years gone by. The idea of the nine to five working day is already in danger of becoming outdated and old-fashioned, with many companies offering their staff the option of home working. Flexible working has also been the subject of a new government rule. According to the rule, all employees who have worked for an employer for 26 weeks or more now have the right to request flexible working hours. Whether a request is granted or not is still in the hands of the employer but the new rules show a commitment to the welfare and general wellbeing of the nation’s working population.
Boost to staff morale
The unlimited holiday scheme is just the next step forward in providing autonomy for employees. Many advocates of the scheme point to the huge boost in staff morale as one of the key elements in the provision of unlimited holidays. A happy workforce is a productive workforce, so there are many benefits to be gained by companies who adopt the process. Allowing employees to take holidays at any time and for an unlimited period also demonstrates a great amount of trust on behalf of the employer. Companies who put that kind of faith in their staff are more likely to be rewarded in return by an increase in staff loyalty and a surge in productivity.
Firms who adopt an unlimited holiday policy are also in a much better position when it comes to recruitment. Many current holiday policies require employees to work for a company for a particular amount of time before receiving an increase in holiday entitlement. This can often be a turn-off for potential new recruits, especially for more senior posts. However, the prospect of unlimited holidays is sure to attract an increased number of candidates of a higher quality.
Firms across the country are sure to be keeping a close eye on Sir Richard Branson’s new staff holiday scheme. If successful, it could revolutionise the workplace as we know it.