Unlimited Vacation Days? Not That Crazy, According to Inc.

We could all use some good old R & R. Like most of us, I wouldn’t mind more days off to experience it. Just think of what I could do with all that extra time: go to state parks; make my own ketchups; or start a rock band consisting of only red heads — "The Ginger Blossoms." (Oh, also, it would strictly be a Gin Blossoms cover band — and we’ll probably just play "Hey Jealousy" over and over… enjoy the concert.) 

To my delight, an article in Inc. contends that the concept of limited vacation days might be getting a little antiquated. 

The 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. workplace is almost dead. Throw your preconceived notions about vacation out the window and give your employees the no-strings-attached, unlimited vacation days they deserve or you’ll soon be a dinosaur.

With an unparalleled culture in which our people actually enjoy coming to work (see Your Employees Need a Treehouse and Let Your Employees Choose Their Titles) as the foundation, every last Red Frog employee is unflinchingly focused and devoted to our mission. Producing vast amounts of quality work is the norm, so we reward them with unlimited vacation and they, in return, reward Red Frog with outstanding work that blows me away every single day.

Taking vacation at Red Frog is encouraged (and even celebrated). And it’s not abused. Ever. By anyone. Simply make sure your work is getting done and make sure you’re covered while you’re away and that’s it—no questions asked.

The pessimists and naysayers have said this policy would either be abused or that it’s not entirely real—that our employees feel pressured to never take off. I assure you they’re underestimating a positive work culture and are simply wrong. Also, I feel sorry for their workplace.

Through building a company on accountability, mutual respect, and teamwork, we’ve seen our unlimited vacation day policy have tremendous results for our employees’ personal development and for productivity. There. I said it. I think Red Frog is more productive by giving unlimited vacation days. Here’s why:

  1. It treats employees like the adults they are. If they’re incapable of handling the responsibility that comes along with having unlimited vacation days, they’re probably incapable of handling other responsibilities too, so don’t hire them.
  2. It reduces costs by not having to track vacation time. Tracking and accounting for vacation days can be cumbersome work. This policy eliminates those headaches.
  3. It shows appreciation. Your employees will need unexpected time off and some need more vacation than others. By giving them what they need when they need it, you show your employees how much you appreciate them and they reciprocate by producing more great work.
  4. It’s a great recruitment tool. We hire a mere one out of every 750 applicants at Red Frog. When you combine fantastic benefits with a positive culture, it’s noticed.

Furthermore, the newsletter HR Specialist lists a couple of current examples:

  • At tech giant IBM, each of its 355,000 workers earns three or more weeks’ vacation each year, but the company says it doesn’t officially keep track of time off.

  • Netflix lets its 400 salaried workers take as much vacation time as they want, saying workers are evaluated on performance, not "face time."

Hat tips on the info to Chamber staffers Ashton Eller and Michelle Kavanaugh.