Things We Want: Paid, PAID vacation

October 11, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

We read a blog post recently that made us stop and think. (And maybe dream a little.)

Bart Lorang, CEO and cofounder of Full Contact, a Denver-based tech start-up, wrote about one of the many crazy ideas he’s had…only he’s actually following through with this one. The company recently told its employees that it would pay them to take vacation — provided they completely unplug while they’re away.

In a huge, exciting experiment that the Internet essentially freaked out over, the company has promised to pay out $7,500 to employees.

To not work.

Full Contact really appreciates the value in truly unplugging and shutting down technology when their employees are traveling, so they decided to formally incentivize it. In this deal, management has only three rules:

  1. You have to go on vacation, or you don’t get the money.
  2. You must disconnect.
  3. You can’t work while on vacation.

This policy — payments and all — is built around three guiding principles. The first: It’s really important to disconnect. Bart writes that it’s not healthy for us to be attached to our various devices 24/7. . . and we completely agree.

The second principle: Full Contact will be stronger if its employees disconnect from time to time because going away actually discourages the “I’m the only one who can do this job” mentality. Bart believes employees who know they’ll be unplugging will take steps to empower their coworkers, contribute to the company wiki and document their work better so others can pick up where they left off while they’re away.

And the third principle: Full Contact employees deserve a nice vacation, plain and simple. And they shouldn’t have to worry about how much they’re spending while they’re on vacation. So the company’s just paying for it.

Granted, this type of experiment wouldn’t work in just any office environment. But in a start-up culture where everyone wears flip-flops and shorts, there are dogs running around the office, where there’s a premium on company culture and the satisfaction of employees who work hard day in and day out, this idea is just crazy enough to work.

What do you think? Do you unplug during your time off? Do you even take time off? Would you be able to completely disconnect and distance yourself from work for your entire vacation if you were being paid to do so?

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Scott Applebee

is the VP of Marketing for Travelpro International, creators of the original Rollaboard luggage, carry-on luggage, and suitcases. Scott received his undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University, a BA in Business Administration from Aquinas College, and his MBA from Western Michigan's Haworth College of Business.

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