Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Now, THAT is some work/life balance


What kind of time off do you get from work? My current situation is OK by most standards -- 20 days per year total PTO (combined vacay, sick, personal, whatevs), plus a kind of stingy seven official holidays (the majors, not Presidents' Day and so forth). It's especially good compared to my first job out here in sunny Galivornia: 10 days per year for vacation, 3 for sick time, and that's it. When I flew to Texass for my own father's funeral, they grudgingly and extremely ungraciously allowed me three days, unpaid. I turned in my notice shortly after that ... but anyhoo. No matter what the deal is, whatever time off I have, you bet your ass I use it, because they're not getting one minute of my allotted time.

I was sent this article today on Netflix's truly revolutionary PTO policy for their HQ workers, which is: They don't keep track of it. You take it when you need it, as long as you get your work done. They don't allocate a set number of days, they don't ask you what it's for or why -- they just ... give it to you. And apparently, it works smashingly well; most people take 25-30 days a year (which is a humane and reasonable amount, IMO), and they're trustworthy about it (being sensitive to time of year in re: their particular job, tying up loose ends before an extended trip, etc.), because they are trusted to do so.

This is the way I've wanted to work all my life. My employer would get SO MUCH MORE out of me this way. It's the way I'd run my own business -- I always thought that was maybe naive of me, to expect everyone else to be self-driven and personally accountable like that, but I'd rather a few people cheat the system than everybody be so rigidly controlled and policed. And here I find out -- it can really work! Amazing.

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7 Comments:

Blogger srah said...

I think my friend at Toyota has something similar for sick days - you just take them off, and if you have more than 5 in a row you need a note from a doctor. It's probably better for productivity because people don't feel as much pressure to hoard their sick days and come to work sick and infect everyone else.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

Oh hell yeah -- no way I'm wasting a sick day on being SICK, if it's part of my total PTO package. I'd have to be actually in the hospital to waste a day on that. Too bad, suckers, you're getting my germs. (God, that sounds assholical, but you know what I mean.)

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article makes me angry -- because my company is pretty much the polar opposite, which makes me very envious.

At my company, the H.R. department rules the roost. Their decisions are final, unchallenged, and not up for debate. And they are among the most obdurate, unadaptable, and unimaginative people I've ever come across.

I think the department has like 8 people (which is waaay too many for the size of our company), and I am convinced that they were all hired straight out of DMV offices across the country.

Even though I am a salaried, multi-degreed professional, responsible, ADULT person, and even though my work requires intense concentration for long blocks of time, I am Required to be In The Office from 9am to 5pm each day. Nevermind that I routinely work another 10-15 hours outside the office each week, and nevermind that 90% of my work could be performed from anywhere in the world with a telephone and a broadband connection.

So. Um. Is Netflix hiring?

3:10 PM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

3:10, as happy as I am with my job situation (very happy), don't think I didn't go straight to their site to check their job listings ... and that's without the fascist HR dept breathing down my neck.

BTW, I love you for using "obdurate." That was beautiful.

4:01 PM  
Blogger traciemasek said...

Yeah, there's this book I read called The Seven Day Weekend, and it's about this company founded in Brazil that does a much more drastic version of the Netflix thing. They have no offices or rules or anything aside from "Get your work done." They spend a lot of time and effort in the hiring process to make sure they're hiring quality, responsible adults, and they count on them to get their work done. Sort of strange to think of the idea of counting on adults to be responsible as such a revolutionary idea.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

what a fabulous idea. one of these days, if i'm ever able to hire help over here in the shop, i hope i can do something similar.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

oops, sorry if i did that twice. short attention span today.

7:31 AM  

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