The Case for Unlimited PTO by Matthew Cohen
October 25, 2017
By Matthew Cohen, Practice Leader - Energy & Sustainability and HVAC/R
As a recruiter, I routinely manage the expectations candidates during the offer stage of their interview process. Recently, the most negotiated piece of the offers I see besides salary is paid vacation time. For decades, the standard for vacation time in most industries was a small amount of PTO accrued over time and the additional PTO was tied to the amount of years someone was employed. We are seeing a fundamental shift in the importance of PTO. The advances in our understanding of mental and physical health has caused candidates to value PTO as a key factor in their decision-making process when deciding on a career change. This shift begs the question: why not have unlimited PTO for your employees? Below are three reasons unlimited PTO should be considered:
- Healthier, Happier Employees: There are a multitude of studies that show the negative effects sitting in an office can do someone both mentally and physically. Having unlimited PTO can give an employee an opportunity to decompress and recharge whenever they feel the need. Employees who come to work with a positive attitude more often can create a better work environment and decrease stress and employee burnout which will in turn, increase employee retention.
- More productivity: It sounds odd, but there is a case to be made that the more PTO employees are given, the greater their productivity. If employees can come to work with less mental or physical stress, they are more likely to produce results at a higher rate. If employees are counting the months until their next few days of PTO, that distraction can limit their productivity. In addition, having unlimited PTO can create a greater relationship between employees and employers which also can lead to an increase in productivity.
- Greater Accountability: One of the biproducts of allowing unlimited PTO is greater accountability between employers and employers. Employees are more likely to be more transparent and honest about their work if they have the freedom to take PTO when they need to. Those who abuse unlimited PTO and who are not productive when back at work, can be dealt with swiftly with a shared understanding that unlimited PTO means more accountability when at work.
While not all industries and jobs can support unlimited PTO, the importance of vacation is growing at a rate where we all need to understand and take notice. We are seeing unlimited PTO polices work in many industries and we see this as a continued trend in the future. Next time you hear someone say, “I need a vacation” you might just want to give it to them.