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Over the past decade, the most popular perk alongside free lunches and office table tennis tournaments has been unlimited PTO. We either received it or we were jealous of our peers who caught it. However, it looks like unlimited PTO is being phased out because nobody knows how to use it.
A general understanding of Unlimited PTO is that you take the days off you need or want when you need them or want them. Want two weeks on your honeymoon? Dark. Need a week to recharge your batteries? Sure.
In most companies, it is understood that you will take the PTO at your discretion and with the approval of your team.
However, it seems we’re all too scared to take time off and if so, isn’t that a culture issue?
Some people worry that their colleagues and employees are taking too much time off.
First, your coworkers should mind their own business, and second, don’t be stupid.
If you think it’s okay to disappear for a week or even a month without telling anyone, it’s NOT unlimited power take-off, that’s stupid and you should lose your job for unreliability and irresponsibility .
“At your discretion” means that you plan your days off by discussing it with your team and your manager. If you’re a manager, encourage your team to take a break.
Most people would avoid burnout if they felt supported and encouraged to take a break. Keep that talent!
Others will not take advantage of the PTO because they think it will be used against them. Some equate free time with low productivity, lack of team spirit, low ambition, or even a lazy work ethic. If you’re not in the office, how are you going to run over it ?!
If you’re a CEO with unlimited PTO, don’t blame your employees for using it. This is a benefit that YOU offers. Keep your promise or lose the trust of your team. Remember, a recharged brain is a productive brain and who wants those low Glassdoor approval ratings? Eek.
Let’s say we’re all on teams of fully functional adults who show up for jobs we love and are really good at. We share a goal, we dedicate ourselves to a mission, and we get the job done. If we work together and for each other, unlimited PTO shouldn’t be a problem.
Why should you care if your coworker takes time off every other Friday? Why shouldn’t you feel comfortable taking two weeks to travel to Bali if that means you come back refreshed and ready to go? Why should you worry if someone is taking a sanity day here and there?
Well-rested people are productive people. People who have traveled a lot are interesting people. Well-groomed people stick around.
Before phasing out unlimited PTO, start using this perk as a litmus test for productivity and cultural happiness. You might be surprised at what you find.