Monday 25 September 2017

Take all the holidays you like, Branson tells his staff

Richard Branson. Photo: PA
Richard Branson. Photo: PA

Miranda Prynne

Richard Branson is to remove limits on the amount of holidays Virgin employees can take each year in the hope it will boost morale, creativity and productivity.

The Virgin boss believes that stripping away the company's holiday policy and allowing staff to take breaks when and as often as they wish will have long-term benefits for his business.

He was inspired after reading about a similar strategy introduced by the video streaming giant Netflix, which had been a marked success.

Staff at Virgin will now be allowed to take time off work without prior warning but are expected to manage this so they stay up to date with all their work.

Writing on his Virgin blog, Mr Branson, pictured, said: "The policy-that-isn't permits all salaried staff to take off whenever they want for as long as they want. "There is no need to ask for prior approval and neither the employees themselves nor their managers are asked or expected to keep track of their days away from the office.

"It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred percent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business - or, for that matter, their careers!"

The less rigid attitude to holidays has evolved due to the increasingly flexible working hours made possible by advances in technology.

Many managers can no longer accurately track how many hours their employees spend on the job due to the ease of remote working and this undermines the old-fashioned system of tracking holiday time, Mr Branson said.

He added that the focus should be on how much people get done rather than how much time they spend on it.

"The Netflix initiative had been driven by a growing groundswell of employees asking about how their new technology-controlled time on the job (working at all kinds of hours at home and/or everywhere they receive a business text or email) could be reconciled with the company's old-fashioned time-off policy," he wrote.

"'We should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days worked. Just as we don't have a nine-to-five policy, we don't need a vacation policy.'"

The entrepreneur, aged 64, said the change had been introduced at Virgin's UK and US parent companies. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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