"The good news, is that your company now has an unlimited paid time off policy. But the bad news is that your company now has an unlimited paid time off policy!
Like most workplace trends or fads, there are 'pros' and 'cons' to having unlimited paid time off. But one thing's for sure, you've got to manage this or it's not going to work.
The gripe about unlimited paid time off is that people feel pressure to take less time off, and here's why:
You used to be awarded (or accrued) time off like everybody else and nobody would judge it because you had nothing to justify. Everyone knew the deal because your paid time off was a deal with the company and everybody had the same deal. But when everyone gets to strike their own deal, people feel obligated to justify their paid time off with their boss and their co-workers, and that's where the pressure comes in. Paid time off becomes a deal people feel obligated to make with co-workers and their boss. So you want to take the pressure off, and the best way to do that is to plan up front.
So you have a team meeting and I want you to have everyone share with everybody in the room their questions, concerns and intentions about paid time off. And I want you to do it up front.
This mutual understanding is healthy because it encourages the group to plan together. And their mutual understanding will trigger mutual commitments and mutual agreements. You're facilitating the deal they're making with their co-workers upfront and that's going to take some of the pressure off, but you can't stop there. You want to follow the same approach with each employee one-on-one. You want to plan with each employee. And you want that plan to be based on a mutual understanding, commitment and agreement. So that plan becomes the framework of the deal they're going to have with YOU.
Now, like any plan or any agreement, you've got to be flexible and adjust on the fly. But this plan and the deal you're striking with people up front is going to take the pressure off. It's not going to solve every challenge with unlimited paid time off, but it's going to allow you to lean into this opportunity together."
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