No matter what job you're in, you know a vacation is always welcome. In fact, some time away from work to blow off steam is actually a necessity. The normal protocol that most of us follow is that we work our asses off, compound our leaves and then use them all at once to take a well-deserved trip.
While that is okay, what if things were the other way around? What if your boss encouraged you to take vacations? Sounds swell, right? Well, that is exactly what CEO of SteelHouse, an advertising & Marketing firm, Mark Douglas does.
Mark told Business Insider that he firmly believes, "If you have a caged lion that was born in captivity, and then you open the cage, they back up more into the cage. They don't start running free."
And it makes perfect sense. If you want a lion to hunt to its full potential, you have to let it be the beast that it is.
"When we first started telling people they had unlimited vacation, they didn't even know how to interpret that," (This was back in 2010).
Ya, no shit, bro! You say that to us and you'll be worshipped. Pretty hard to believe, isn't it?
But he figured out a way to solve this conundrum that the employees were facing. 2011 onward, the company started paying employees $2000 to take vacations. And the coolest part is that an employee can use this amount all in one go, or take smaller trips around the year.
When employees book their tickets, they are reimbursed the very next day. And those who don't have enough cash on them, they are given the company credit card to make bookings. How cool is that? Seriously, are there any Indian companies paying attention?
"Our culture is really simple. It's based on trust and ambition," he says.
He explained that once the employees return from their trips, they submit their expenses and are reimbursed for it (up to a maximum of $2000). Although, there are some who want to take the amount as a bonus and spend it elsewhere. But Mark literally forces them to use the money for a vacation. Imagine that!
"It's one thing to say 'You have three weeks vacation,' like most companies do, it's another thing to say 'You have cash, and if you don't go on vacation and spend this money, the money literally goes to waste.' It's another level of saying this is real."
I can cry right now!
The most important part is that all his employees come back recharged and refreshed, which in turn results in much better productivity. So far, only 5 of his 250 employees have quit. And 3 of those were non-job related resignations. Seems legit, because why would you quit if you have such an awesome policy?
Douglas also suggests, "Policy is policing." But this particular one is something that he believes any industry can implement. And they should, right? Nobody would mind a paid vacation. Most of us won't have to be forced to go on one either. We would happily pack our bags and take off.
It's like the best barter you can have at a workplace. Give productivity and get vacations in return. As an employee, wouldn't you want to do your best for a company or a CEO who makes sure that you are satisfied?
It's high time that this be included in our work culture too!