Branson Leads Changing Face of Annual Leave


Flexible working has been a hot topic in recruitment for a while now, and although there are split opinions on its benefits, the idea of putting the working week back into the hand of the actual worker has made waves within employment, through both management and staff.  Richard Branson, a long-time advocate of flexible working, has shaken things up again by giving his staff free reign over holiday time.

Even More Flexible
Richard Branson is a pioneering heavyweight in the business world and a number of his ideas and projects have proven their worth, resulting in vast changes in the working world as we know it. And, with Virgin Galactic as his latest baby, he is making changes out of this world as well. However, one new policy in particular has caused much conversation in the recruiting sphere…

After hearing from his daughter that online movie and TV streaming site Netflix now does not log staff vacation time, Branson decided that implementing a similar rule within his own company could prove to raise morale and productivity. In his latest book, in which he tells his secrets on how to be a great boss and leader, he specifies how his Virgin staff have been offered the opportunity to take holiday time whenever they want, for however long they want, without making an official request.

Does It Work?
It is a controversial idea and many critics say it serves only to give the employee what they want regardless of how it affects the overall needs of the business. However, in a world where work does not end when the employee leaves the office, when they are expected to be contactable via smartphones, laptops and social networking, it is now harder than ever to track just how many hours’ employees genuinely work. With that being said, is it beneficial to keep an archaic holiday entitlement system, which serves the company rather than the worker?

Both Netflix and Branson believe that more importance needs to be placed on what gets done rather than when it gets done. With flexible working changing the nine to five aspect we have been used to for many decades, the way in which holiday is given and the entitlements staff have to time off needs to be updated to be in line with a changing working society.
Although this new policy, or rather non-policy, remains to be proven to be a success, draconian annual leave policies look to be becoming a changing medium, more suited to the emotional and physical needs of the employee which will be a welcome aspect for many workers.

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