Monday, August 04, 2014

Remote-Workers... Do You Think You Deserve A Vacation?

There is this new concept of unlimited vacations that many tech start-ups and established businesses are taking advantage of. The concept is really simple: as long as your work is done, and/or you are covered, you're free to take off! Simple, right?

We are still working, even when we are off... 

Well the truth will come as we see people taking advantage of it, and according to some research, workers are taking even less time. However, should we be so proud of this? Yes? No? Maybe? The fact is that Americans spend less time on holiday than just about any industrialized country. The result: more stress, less innovation and family time (great article that talks about the vanishing American vacation) that has been crushed by the guilt of not working. Or, one could argue that the hard work we're so accustomed to is helping the tribe be more successful, and that general productivity growth raises all ships. Whatever the case, this is an opinion blog, so here goes.

My general thought about vacations center on a 20% rule (and this can be role-dependent). For example, the sales and marketing team should never sleep. Unless your company has all the business it could ever need, sales must go on. The same goes for developers. If the product isn't finished, should you be free to totally unplug? Furthermore, with internet almost ubiquitous, is it really that hard to check in? Likely, you're happy to look at what's happening on Facebook, so why not check email quickly? There is a heavy counter to my argument, and I don't disagree that we should all try to unplug. And I do believe that employers should be really mindful about employee stress levels and moral. But if you're a start-up, then the show must go on.

All this said, should there be a hybrid approach? Should vacations be more about slack time than full-time off? Should employers make sure the work/life balance is in check in lieu of vacation time? To me, it is all about balance. If, personally, you are getting the breaks you need, then take 60% off. If you're not getting in the breaks you need then you might need to work on efficiency gains, or take a full 100% off so you don't burn out! 

No comments: