leave early, take the rest of the day off, have as many holidays as you like

Pay no attention, the media like nothing better than poking fun at rich and successful entrepreneurs. Today’s eccentricities will be tomorrow’s management wisdom.  "Take as much holiday as you want when you want", may be a reward for an outstanding piece of work from one off your creative geniuses who has just doubled your personal fortune or the sort of thing a caring employer might say to a valued member of the team who was having personal problems. However you are being quoted as saying this offer is being extended to all your employees and you the hope other employers follow your example. Your argument is that it’s better for the individual’s wellbeing and therefore better for the business and that you believe employees can be trusted to take time off when projects permit and when it will not impact on colleagues or the business. It is easy to dismiss this as naive and impractical, to make fun of the out of touch old hippy for an idea that might go down well in the creative high tech industries in California but isn't going to work in NHS hospitals. Except this is really just the logical extension of the management wisdom that says people should be judged on their output not their attendance , what counts is what you achieve not how many hours you put in. Management commitment is all too often about being one of the first to arrive at the office and one of the last to leave but being present is not the same as being effective. If your commitment to the project is such that when the work requires it you do long days, take work home and postpone holidays then why shouldn't you leave early, take the rest of the day off or have a holiday when the work allows it. You are in the best position to judge this so you shouldn't need to ask anyone's permission.

I am not so sure that this approach doesn't already happen across the public sector admittedly not the take as much holiday as you want but one week or three is usually up to individual not their boss. Like everyone else in the public sector I had to get my leave agreed by my manager but provided I had checked to ensure there was cover and there wasn't some crucial meeting I would miss I expected it to be approved. I can't think of a single occasion when it wasn't. Odd days were treated in the same way. As a senior manager no one questioned my comings and goings or my regular working from home. I was trusted to organise my work, to make a judgment as to which meetings required my presence, which I could send a deputy to and which ones I wouldn't attend. I was judged on my effectiveness, well in theory any way. The use of modern technology means people don't need to be in the office to work and work happens outside the traditional 9 to 5 Monday to Friday. 


Ok the nurse in an NHS hospital is restricted by the needs of the service but Richard for me your message was about trusting staff to get the job done and giving them more scope to arrange their work and their time off. Don't nurses swop shifts, don't they have an informal agreement covering if I work Christmas Day will you do New Years Eve, doesn't someone agree to work late so someone else can go early? Instead of frowning on this behaviour may be management should encourage it. Flexibility should be a two way process not a one way management expectation.


Blair McPherson author and commenter on the public sector www.blairmcpherson.co.uk   


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