Richard Branson grants Virgin staff unlimited annual leave

If the headline of this article doesn’t catch your attention, I’m not sure what will.

I was stunned when I heard about today’s announcement by Richard Branson. The Virgin tycoon has revealed a plan that will allow staff to:

take off whenever they want for as long as they want. 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.

The bold move was inspired by Branson’s daughter Holly who read a Telegraph article about a highly successful non-policy on holidays from Netflix.

Holly Branson is quoted confirming the potential business benefits:

I have a friend whose company has done the same thing and they’ve apparently experienced a marked upward spike in everything – morale, creativity and productivity have all gone through the roof.

But can it really work? Will staff take advantage or will it become so frowned upon when staff do make the most of this leniency that no-one will take any time off at all?

It’s a smart step for Netflix and Virgin who, of course, are both considered to be very forward-thinking already and will have considered the positive PR value of such a move. I wonder whether we’ll see media and marketing companies follow suit. Perhaps it will be the start-ups who give it a go next…

I’ll certainly be watching this space.