- Many American workers don’t use all their paid vacation days, if they’re granted vacation days at all.
- Two Netflix recruiters revealed on the podcast “We Are Netflix” that, at their company, employees are often encouraged to take more vacation if they have been in the office too long.
- Netflix is one of a growing number of companies to offer unlimited vacation for workers.
- Netflix not only offers unlimited vacation but encourages employees to make sure they use what they need, decoupling productivity from time in the office. Their approach shows that face time doesn’t always equal results.
In many American workplaces, employees feel pressured to not use their vacation days.
Apparently that isn’t the case at Netflix, according to one employee’s account.
Netflix recruiter Mike Jones recently revealed on the company’s podcast “We Are Netflix” that in 2017, between the time he was hired and officially started working there, his superiors were already encouraging him to take time off.
“I attended a Netflix happy hour prior to coming on board, and [recruiter Chrissy Running] asked at some point, ‘You know, what vacations do you have planned?'” Jones said on the podcast. “And I was, like, ‘Uh, I’m not a big vacation guy. I typically take a day or two off here.'”
“And the stare that I got from her – I felt like reached down into my soul,” he said. “She said, ‘Hey, if you don’t start taking more vacations we’re going to have some one-on-ones about this.”
Netflix is one of an increasing number of companies that don’t track how many vacation days its employees use. For Jones, the interaction was one that set his career at the company off right.
“It was great because it really encourages you to take time to recharge. I definitely appreciated it, and it was a story that I told family and coworkers,” he said. “She just threatened me to take more vacation or else we’re going to have issues!”
It didn’t end there. Jones said he recently had a one-on-meeting with another team member who took it a step further.
“She said, ‘So you’ve got to stop taking these three-day or one-day-and-then-weekend vacations.’ She’s, like, ‘When are you going to take two weeks off?'” he said. “We literally sat down and looked through my calendar and said, ‘All right, this is probably the week you should go do it.'”
The attitude stands in contrast to most other US companies.
According to the careers website Glassdoor, the average American worker who gets paid vacation days uses only 54% of those days over the course of a year. Many workers said they feared they’d fall too far behind on work if they used their full slate of vacation days, something only 23% of workers do.
But Running said on the podcast that Netflix’s approach comes from the top down.
“We all know those people who never take vacations and then it can spiral,” she said. “It can become where everyone thinks, ‘Oh, because the senior recruiter or the senior manager doesn’t take vacation, it means I can’t take vacation.'”
“Netflix’s philosophy is, essentially, we’re not tracking how many hours you spend in the office or that you spend answering emails, and so we’re not going to track the time that you spend on vacation,” she said. “And I think it’s not only important for Mike to recharge and for myself to recharge but the example that it sends to everyone else.”