Working On Vacation In Exchange For Unlimited Time Off

Rioch Infographic - Paying the price for working on vacationAccording to recent research commissioned by Ricoh Americas Corporation and conducted online by Harris Interactive, 54% of Americans work while they’re on vacation. They do things like stay on top of emails, keep in touch with co-workers, and take care of small tasks. Generally, employees don’t simply trade working full time at the office for working full time at the beach, but they aren’t disconnecting either. And this, reports Rioch, is bad for worker’s relationships and their health.

But not everybody agrees that this trend is all bad. In exchange for spending some time at work while on vacation, many of the most desirable companies are offering unlimited time off.

This benefit offers employees the option to work overseas, at the beach, or while on the kid’s month long US soccer tour – essentially, whenever they want and where ever they want. Obviously, this benefit comes with responsibility. If employees abuse it, companies won’t offer it. But employees are not likely to abuse a privilege that is given with trust and respect – something that more and more companies are realizing.

Another recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 3 percent of employers (up from 1percent last year) offer this unlimited vacation benefit. Many of the companies offering this benefit are large companies like Netflix, but many small businesses are able to offer it too because of their unique company structure.

“The size of the company is not as important as other things, like whether this kind of policy fits with the culture of the company, whether the nature of people’s jobs in the company lends itself to this kind of policy, and, when this kind of policy is paired with a flex time or telecommuting policy, whether employees need to be in the office collaborating on their work or whether they can do their work elsewhere on their own time,” Christina Gomez, a partner with the law firm Holland & Hart and an expert on labor and employment matters, told BusinessNewsDaily. “It really just depends on the culture of the company and the nature of the work.”

The flexibility to take time off when needed and essentially never really getting completely away is a trade off. Some people might have more of a need to disconnect than others, while some clearly desire the ability to come and go as they please.

Maybe the ideal employee benefit would be a choice of either a set number of disconnected vacation days or unlimited, semi-working vacation time. Do you know any companies that offer the choice?

With a set number of vacation days, employees need to track their accrual balances. offers accruals tracking that makes it easier for employees to request days off. It takes the hassle out of the process for employers too. Set it up once and then let the system do the work.

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