In an ingenious move, Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, has decided to give his employees as many days off from work as they desire and whenever they want. But there is a small caveat -- the time off should not affect their end goals and their output.
He believes it will boost their morale, creativity and productivity -- eventually helping the company progress and profit.
But will it really? What about discipline and deadlines?
“There is no need to ask for prior approval, and neither the employees themselves nor their managers are asked or expected to keep track of their days away from the office.
“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!” he says.
If anything, Branson is extraordinary. Nothing he does is "normal" or mundane and that is perhaps the reason he is where he is today.
Yes, the ability to decide your own work schedule is tempting to any employee. But since they have to be at the top of their game to be at Virgin, and not let their off time affect their work progress, the employees pretty much have to be on their toes all the time.
More likely than not, after the first bout of “as many days as they want and whenever they want,” the workers will be bound to put the priorities back in line. It really wouldn’t matter how much time they are allowed to take off, they will stay on duty as long as the work gets done and Virgin’s high and reputable standards are maintained.
Further, think about the hullabaloo this news has gotten. Virgin is known to have ideas, projects and ventures that attract global attention. What’s more, its founder knows how to stay in the news and get the most out of every opportunity. He flies live into space, gives discounts to people who have Bollywood names, and even has nuns giving safety demos! Imagine the promotion his company has enjoyed through this latest announcement -- all without spending a dime.
Branson is a genius. He has thriving business, happy employees and a world that cannot stop talking about him.