Who hasn’t experienced this? At the beginning of the year, you sit down together as a family and spread out your contractually regulated vacation days over the year. However, this inflexible planning often does not fit in with a flexible life. Especially urgently needed short breaks are often not taken into consideration with respect to the remaining vacation and possibly missing days off at Christmastime. There are discussions about how many days can transfer into the next year and when vacation may or can be forfeited. Everything is calculated, pushed around, and pocketed. Sometimes things can get very tight. This system, which has been practiced for decades, is based on the assumption that employees only show up for work because they cannot currently take vacation. But can this be the basis for motivation, passion, and personal goals?
What happens if you question this idea? What happens if everyone in the team can take as much vacation as they want/need?
At Peerox, we believe that managing performance by monitoring working hours and attendance makes no sense at all. Whether someone is on vacation, takes flextime, exclusively puts their feet up in the home office, or spends their office day on Facebook is completely irrelevant in the end. The end result of the work is rarely related to the hours worked. On the contrary, taking regular breaks, recharging the battery, and then really stepping on the gas with the team can result not only in greater satisfaction and health, but also in greater efficiency.
To take this meaningless pressure off every Peer at Peerox, we’ve introduced unlimited paid vacation. This means every Peer can take as much vacation as he or she wants. There are just a few rules to follow:
- The system will only work if everyone can rely on each other and there is a deep trust. The team motivates and treats each other to the breaks they deserve. At the same time, absences are planned in close consultation. The moment the well-being of the team and the achievement of our vision no longer play a role for the individual Peer, the system will fail. In this case, however, we have probably made other fundamental mistakes and probably have no chance of keeping Peerox alive with the current spirit anyway.
- Vacations are announced with at least their planned duration as lead time. This helps the team to plan, build trust, and coordinate tasks and customer communication with each other.
- The minimum vacation must be taken. To monitor this, we will continue to log the vacation days, in particular to be able to condemn lazy peers to a forced vacation. We will be very careful to make sure that everyone takes care of themselves. After all, we still have huge plans for every single individual.
The principle of “unlimited vacation” has already been tested in a number of companies around the world. The results vary greatly. While in some companies, the high level of trust has led to positive effects, others report exploitation effects, inequality, resentment, or a lack of courage to take any vacation at all. We talked to many people about our idea in advance. On average, people do not believe that this principle can actually work. It is assumed that the negative effects clearly outweigh the positive ones. But we believe that Peerox offers every single Peer so many personal development opportunities, common challenges with our interesting project partners and fun in the team that even egoistic considerations lead to not wanting to put this working environment at risk. Therefore, we would like to prove the opposite, make our vision come true with our guiding principles, and dare to try this experiment. We will see whether we are ultimately revealed to be naive, idealistic dreamers with dissatisfied Peers and an insolvent Peerox, or whether trusting in the personal drive of the Peers once again releases new forces and joy in the work.