Unlimited holiday

Is there such a thing as an unlimited holiday?

At some point, you’ve probably imagined working at a company that offers its employees unlimited holidays. Whether this sounds like a dream come true or a far-fetched, ridiculous notion, unlimited holidays exist in the labor market. It’s not very common, but it has already begun to be tested for at least a handful of positions within certain organizations in specific sectors. In today’s article, we discuss unlimited holidays as an employee benefit that will surely be of interest to you. 

Is it possible to have unlimited holidays?

In other words: does it make sense to talk about unlimited holidays, and does it truly benefit employees as much as one would think? Are companies willing to provide their employees unlimited holidays in exchange for accomplishing objectives?

Unfortunately, none of these questions have a definitive, clear-cut answer. 

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Unlimited holiday

All vacation holidays have a limit

In reality, when we talk about unlimited holidays, we usually do so in a more hypothetical sense than a real, concrete sense. After all, if we go strictly by the definition of the term, an unlimited holiday means – at least potentially – never working. Think about it: If we lived in a world where we were allowed to enjoy unlimited holidays, we would leave work and never return. Thus, there would be little to no continuity in relation to our tasks, and our relationship with the company would be in pieces.

Therefore, it is much more reasonable to say that an “unlimited holiday” means “unlimited but not really a holiday.”

In fact, the term refers to how companies offer their employees the possibility of increasing paid vacation time above the usual 22 days a year and the possibility of greater flexibility to distribute those vacation days throughout the year. 

An unlimited holiday does not mean that an employee’s vacation period is literally unlimited – it will eventually end at some point. In the same way, the flexibility in the distribution of holiday periods cannot become an employee absence that is intermittent, unpredictable, and indefinite.

The value of time for employees and companies

We, employees, assign increasing importance to our time: the only thing we have that we are genuinely “losing” day after day. It is the essential material we possess to carry out our lives.

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Thus, having plenty of time to give ourselves through something like “unlimited holidays” sounds fantastic: a measure of labor flexibility that would be considered a kind of lottery by any employee and that no one would want to resist.

When we think of time, we think about its quantity and quality. An adequate combination of both allows us to spend it in a way that meets our needs and well-being. That said, many people – and some companies – think that having unlimited holidays is an optimal, if not perfect, expression of that combination.

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We can devote more of our precious time to our personal fulfillment as people through unlimited holidays.

Learn to use time efficiently 

It might seem difficult to establish a perfect separation between 100% of an employee’s tasks and 100% of the time that an employee requires to carry them out.

Considering this, a reflection on the efficient use of time in the workplace is essential, mainly when there is an imbalance between the number of tasks and the time available for each one.

Having eight hours in the day, day after day, to do one or two things that could honestly be done in three or four hours sounds great. It’s excellent in the sense that we can complete tasks in a somewhat relaxed manner at our own leisure without rushing and without stress. 

However, is this way of working efficiently? Is it satisfying for the employee to consistently commit such a significant amount of time to their tasks systematically? What should we pay more attention to: the results obtained (actual productivity), the expected results (OKR), or the time spent on it?

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Unlimited holidays and the use of time

In many cases, the traditional way of operating may be good enough for some of us. However, it is important to know that unlimited holidays often have the power to eliminate certain psychosocial risks that are common in traditional work, such as stress generated by a lack of sufficient time to work and working under pressure, wasting time (and, surely, money), profound boredom, and the feeling of “being on call for nothing” when you could be using that time for other things.

Many HR managers considering the implementation of unlimited holidays are concerned about how it might affect overall staff productivity. They see potential problems with how employees can coordinate promptly and efficiently with the rest of their team. The new policy will make employees more unreliable and less readily available to their teammates.

It is necessary to think carefully about how the so-called unlimited holidays are defined in practice and in what type of positions they are more likely to generate problems. It is also worth remembering that absolute availability to the team does not necessarily generate better team coordination. That time utilization is not precisely about spending a certain amount of time on a task. Instead, it means performing a task in the time needed to do it and only in that time.

It is about obtaining a result that is optimal (that is to say, satisfactory for both the employee and the company) at a level of wear and tear that is acceptable for the employee in an efficient manner in both technical aspects and in those related to the physical and psychological well-being of the employee.

Unlimited holiday

Unlimited holidays: risks for employees

Since the possibility of unlimited holidays is usually conditional on fulfilling certain objectives, several risks should be calculated and considered. The first is the pernicious temptation for the company to inflate the goals that need to be achieved so that it is nearly impossible for the employee to realistically achieve them and therefore enjoy their unlimited holidays, which would result in a deterioration of the employee’s experience with the company.

Followed by a second risk, which would be the employees’ attempt to hastily achieve their objectives in as short a time as possible to take advantage of those unlimited holidays (abundant, flexible, frequent). This could generate imbalances in employee schedules and working hours, resulting in weak results and possibly burnout syndrome in the medium or long term.

We hope that you found this article on unlimited holidays interesting. If you would like more information about ifeel’s emotional well-being program for companies, simply request it, and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

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