I want to work for a company that adopts this.
Richard Branson just announced he would be giving Virgin employees unlimited vacation. He’s either nuts or knows something others have yet to discover: You’ll make more money if you give people their time back.
Why We Trade Time for Money
The Industrial Age taught us the only way to make money was to trade time for it. The deal was clear, and always the same: You give me eight to 10 hours of your day, and I’ll give you some money. But in the Participation Age, something new is emerging. Companies are realizing that when you give people back their time, they will make you more money. It seems counter-logical, but it’s really quite intuitive. As usual, Branson is moving on an idea that traditionalists will only discover by watching him and the other early adapters in action.
Why Would Unlimited Vacation Work?
Why give up on a vacation system that’s been in place for 170-plus years? Because it was a bad idea then, and with a work force that did not grow up in the shadow of the Industrial Age, it’s an even worse idea today. Almost no one under 40 can relate to a time-based system that makes no sense in a results-based work world.
Branson didn’t figure this out; he’s actually a late adapter, which makes a lot of the work world archaic and completely out of touch with how to make money today. Fewer than 1% of U.S. companies give unlimited vacation. In fact, America gives the second-lowest amount in the world, behind only South Korea.
The data is in: When you give people control of their time, they make you more money. W. L. Gore Inc., the pioneer in rejecting the Industrial Age, is a $3 billion company with 10,000 stakeholders. They’ve had unlimited vacation since the 1960s and continue to grow exponentially.