Take All the (Vacation) Time You Like, Just Get the Job Done

cubicle farmIf you told most managers their workers would be more productive with unlimited time off, the bosses would probably wonder about your mental well being.

Yet, a few companies do just that and swear by the results.

However, “If you treat people like adults, they will act like adults” is a cliche not always lived up to by either party in the equation.

So it is refreshing to actually see innovative work practices in practice. At the heart of this particular workplace is the Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) philosophy.

And it was one of the most interesting aspects of Jochen Lillich’s talk on his management philosophy as CEO of freistil IT (@freistil).

 Watch a video here on how autonomy is a key motivator in the workplace.

The thinking behind ROWE is that spending time in the office is less important than getting the job done.

By removing the pressure on workers to just be there, employees are free to manage how work fits in to their own lives.

Then then repay the employer with increased motivation, loyalty and productivity.

Outcomes not Presenteeism

Definitely in the minority, freistil IT, is among the 1% of companies offering unlimited vacation time.

Lillich said employees can take as much time off as they like provided they give the same period of time as notice.

So, a spontaneous long weekend can be arranged on a Thursday. But no so fast on that six-week trip of a lifetime to South America.

It is part science (Lillich goes in to detail on the freistil IT blog), part necessity and mostly common sense.

Citing the book, Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: The Results-Only Revolution, Lillich, as a startup CEO, realized results matter a great deal more than looking at someone warming a seat.

And, as since freistil is an IT services company, key customer relationships are best maintained by engaged employees.

Trust & Transparency

Since ROWE is built on trust, and Lillich places a strong emphasis on company culture and finding the right employees.

In a later discussion, he spoke about how behaviors are more important than technical skills in prospective employees. Hard skills can be picked up, he said. But the right person needs to be in place first.

In ROWE, trust is built on transparency. Another acronym helps Lillich here: V2MOM. This stands for Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles and Metrics. These are built in to every level of the company.


Image courtesy of Hiking Artist.

4 thoughts on “Take All the (Vacation) Time You Like, Just Get the Job Done

  1. Pingback: Debt, Experience and Happy Accidents | John P. Muldoon

  2. Jochen,
    You are welcome and thank you for speaking. It was a very interesting talk.

  3. Pingback: A Startup is Not the Place to Make Money | John P. Muldoon

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