An open leave policy

Pete Wildman

A few friends and I took our young daughters camping this weekend. Chatting with another dad over a beer, conversation turned to his business, and the open leave policy he’s introduced at head office. I’ve read a few articles on these over the past year or so, and been intrigued, but this guy was the first person I’ve spoken to who is actually running one within their business, and I found it really interesting.

He explained that he hates the idea of creating a culture where people feel they ‘need to be seen to be working’, or feel chained to the office, and instead wants employees to have the flexibility to take time out and refresh when their workload’s slow; it’s about trusting people to manage their time and workflow – his team know they can take some time for themselves when it’s not going to negatively affect their work or the overall business. Grab a surfboard, spend some time with the kids, or blow off some steam – “whatever works for you, get out there and do it”.

Consequently, he’s found that people have really stepped up when they need to, happily giving their all during busier periods when the pressure’s on; He explained that they’re still closely monitoring leave, as it’s a relatively new policy, and if someone wasn’t performing whilst taking endless beach days, they’d address it, but so far people have responded really positively, and nobody has yet ‘taken the piss’. Retention, productivity and innovation have all improved.

Have you enjoyed a similar arrangement at work, or are you considering bringing to your workplace? Our model at Sterning provides a great deal of flexibility, and a more formal open leave policy is something I’m looking at adopting as Sterning Health grows. In the interim, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on the subject – positive or negative!

Send your CV