During a typical the working day have you ever reached a point where you feel that nothing more productive can be achieved and you may as well be at home or perhaps out with friends? Well, this subject has clearly been on Richard Branson’s mind as he has recently informed the 170 Virgin head office staff that fixed holiday rights will be done away with. What this means is that they can leave work when they like: perhaps it’s for a few hours or even a few months. The main caveat is that that they have done what is needed and their absence doesn’t cause problems for the rest of their team. However, there is a drawback as on Branson’s blog, he says (my emphasis):

It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred percent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!

Personally speaking, not once in my career have I ever felt that I was completely up to date on every single aspect of my work (have you?), so I severely doubt that Branson’s staff feel like they are on top of all their tasks. So, what does this mean in practice?

I believe employees would expend time and effort in trying to keep track on their colleagues; to name and shame people who dare to take time off for a summer vacation, when they never take more than a long weekend themselves. This highlights the nature of small teams as the members ultimately are answerable to one another, as opposed to a Manager.

At least with fixed holiday’s people understand and appreciate how much time they can justifiably take off work. For sure, what is being suggested is definitely better than the conditions you would be exposed to while working in an Amazon warehouse but although Branson may think his idea is pleasant, agreeable and open-minded the influence of your work associates can be merciless. So, in my opinion this proposal offers no real freedom from the oppression of labour; it just gives the personal who runs the company a warm feeling.

What do you think? Is this proposal a genuine innovation or not? Leave a comment below: