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Netflix and Unlimited Vacation Time

Originally posted August 29, 2013 on Peoplefluent.com

Want More Productive Employees? Netflix Says Give Them More Vacation Time

medium_8145670755The same company that led the way in how we watch movies is now paving new roads in vacation policies. In an effort to cultivate self-motivated and self-disciplined workers, Netflix has created an interesting policy on vacation time –none. That’s right, Netflix’s 900 employees have no cap on their vacation days.

Instead of focusing on how many days, hours and weeks employees spend in the office, Netflix managers put more focus on tracking the work that actually gets done.

“Prior to 2004 we had the standard vacation model, until we realized no one was tracking how many hours in a day they worked. Why were we tracking whether someone takes two weeks or four weeks of vacation? It was an industrial era habit.” said Reed Hastings, CEO and co-founder of Netflix.

Netflix management has found that the best way to combat this “industrial era habit” was to do away with the more bureaucratic culture of systemizing everything and allow for more freedom and responsibility.

How it Works 

It sounds simple enough, right? Give your employees total freedom and they’ll take total responsibility. Well there’s a little more to it.

The Employees

They don’t just put effort into creating self-disciplined workers, Netflix sees this as a defining characteristic in a new hire. Recently, Netflix’s 128-page “Reference Guide on Our Freedom and Responsibility Culture” was leaked to the public. Intended as a guide for employees, it has quickly become a go-to reference for employers trying to emulate their culture and practices.

The bottom line of this reference guide is workplace efficiency. Netflix puts a continual emphasis on effectiveness. The employee who stays till 9pm, but gets just as much work done as the guy who leaves at 4pm and takes 3 weeks of vacation is probably not going to be there for long. They don’t praise time in, they praise work done.  Read more…
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