When a co-worker first mentioned that LevelEleven doesn’t have vacation days, I thought nobody had set that up yet. We were a 5-month-old company at the time – it made sense. The fact that we wouldn’t have a limited amount of vacation days didn’t. At the time.
Coming from a journalism background, I wasn’t used to working in an office. I expected all of the traditional vacation day, dress code and workday hour regimens to come with my transition into LevelEleven. None of them did. And I’ve watched the freedom that comes with that – especially in terms of us determining vacation days – contribute to our sales productivity.
Don’t believe me? I probably wouldn’t have before I started working here, either. But here are three things I’ve noticed since then that might change your mind:
Around the holidays, contacts at many vendors we work with told me: “I have unused vacation days and don’t want to lose them.” They all took time off, while most of our team stuck around. Ten percent of our full-year bookings occurred in that last week of the year. Of course, a lot went into that, but such results wouldn’t have been possible if our sales team wasn’t hard at work during that time.
2. We actually need to be nudged to go on vacation.
About a month ago, our CEO had to write us all an email. He said that he instilled an open vacation-day policy because our jobs are not centered around working a certain number of days each year — they’re about generating the results and goals set for us and that we define for ourselves. He explained that he wanted us to have the flexibility to take a break when we need it and to spend time with family and friends. He suggested we take more time off.
I’m not sharing this example in hopes that it’ll determine your decision to switch to an open vacation policy. After all, this isn’t the ideal scenario you want to shoot for; if you have unlimited vacation days you want your team to leverage them. I offer the point simply because most sales leaders think their reps will never be around if vacation days don’t come with boundaries. This proves that won’t necessarily be the case.
It’s worth noting that we have an engaged team to start off. You have to be careful about the type of environment where you instill this sort of policy – or non-policy, rather. You need to be able to trust that your team will take advantage of it without taking advantage of you.
If you do have the right environment and can open vacation days, then you’ll get to experience the very best part: Your team will take time off when they need it. That time away will refresh them. And then it’ll amp up creativity and productivity when they return.