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Myth Busters: The Truth About Unlimited Paid Time Off

Recently, Dyn added unlimited Paid Time Off (PTO) as a new benefit for its employees. When trying something new, there are always misconceptions and unlimited PTO is no exception. Some may decide that it won’t be successful because employees will simply not show up for work and take advantage of the generosity. Others may be paralyzed by the word “unlimited” and not take enough time off.

No matter where one lands on this issue, there are some myths associated with the policy that should be addressed and answered in order to ensure everyone is on the same page. This is a growing trend among companies, so if you have been thinking about it, this will hopefully be some valuable insight into your planning.


What Unlimited Really Means

  • Unlimited doesn’t mean limitless. When we say that we have an unlimited PTO policy, we mean that we aren’t going to limit the number of PTO days (hours) that an employee can take.
  • Unlimited doesn’t mean unplanned. This policy doesn’t allow employees to simply “not show up” without first contacting their manager. The success of this policy will come from the communication that takes place between employees, team members and their managers.
  • Unlimited doesn’t mean that we won’t track the time. We are still going to track when employees take or do not take time off. For us, there are two kinds of offenders to this policy: those who take too much time and those who don’t take enough. We want to make sure that all employees are taking the time needed to renew and recharge for the road ahead.

Truthfully, this policy has more benefits than disadvantages but it requires a great deal of trust, responsibility, accountability and communication. It requires a great deal from our management team. In fact, the success of this policy will be dependent upon the ability of our leaders to lead their people.

Here are some things for our leadership team to consider as we roll this out:

  • Managers will need to set and manage clear expectations for themselves and their team members.
  • Managers will have to plan ahead for projects that may be impacted by team members taking time off.
  • Managers may have to have tough conversations and let their team members know that they can’t take time because it will impede on the teams’ efforts and ability to complete tasks at hand.
  • Managers will have to stay aware of the state of their staff and award people time off if they aren’t taking care of themselves.
  • Managers will have to monitor outcome and output on a regular basis to ensure that their teams are performing to the levels expected for the business objectives.

This policy is an “experiment” of sorts for Dyn.

We believe that we have a team of employees that understands the value this policy offers and, as such, will not exploit it. Actually, our fear is that our employees may not take advantage of this benefit, in which case, our mangers may be issuing a number of PTO days for jobs well done.

Since we are taking the attention off of the time spent on the tasks at hand, we are placing a greater emphasis on the results that our employees are producing. We are currently in the process of drafting a means by which we will measure performance and the ability to meet the expectations that have been set. We will keep you posted on how this plays out but, as you can imagine, the buzz so far has been pretty exciting.

What’s your company’s paid time off policy? What do you like and what don’t you like?

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