Pi Attitude Zone: Flexibility

A Vacation? Sure. How About... Starting Now?

You want time off?  Starting TOMORROW?  Sure, kid, not a problem.  But what are you telling me for?  Just go.  Go!  Tell me about it when you get back to work, whenever that is.  Enjoy!”

Seriously?  In most offices, the holiday roster is one of the most rigidly-managed systems under the control of the Human Resources department, endowed with the force of Holy Writ.  Woe betide the employee who endangers productivity and group deadlines by sloping off at unexpectedly short notice to sit on a beach and sip Piña Coladas.

But then again, some employers have been telling their workers they can take as much vacation time as they want, whenever they feel the need, just so long as they get their work done.

It sounds like a recipe for work-scheduling disaster, but it’s actually a carefully-thought-out challenge to people’s sense of responsibility.  Many employees who get offered this “please yourself” deal are indirectly made keenly aware of their ultimate professional accountability.  Many such people typically decide to take less time off in total than they would formally be entitled to.  For them it turns out to be a duty call, an appeal to their conscience, an invitation to take themselves seriously.  And if their decision to take time off results in problems for their colleagues, peer-group pressures will make themselves felt.

Another beneficial result is your employees telling other people “This is a REALLY great place to work”. The fact that they are trusted to do the right thing for the company makes for greater commitment. One HR chief put it this way: “When you have a workforce of fully-formed professionals, you have a clear connection between… the work and how long it takes to do it. So you don’t need the clock-in,-clock-out mentality”.

At companies who encourage telecommuting and work-from-home, that’s an advantage.  If a big proportion of your workforce have no dedicated office, instead toiling at home or on-site with clients, you can’t easily clock-watch them anyway.  By encouraging personal opportunism, there’s a good chance that the same opportunistic mindset will be put to the company’s service.

Pi says:  sometimes treating people like grown-ups encourages them to be… well… grown-ups.

Zone: Flexibility Country: Multiple Geographies Product – Business / Professional