11 December 2014

Vacation Reversal

In a classic example of a Laws of Media Reversal – in which any medium (something we conceive or create) pushed beyond the limit of its potential reverses what were its original effects (messages) – granting too much vacation time reverses into people taking little time off. As reported on The Science of Us blog, “Unlimited Vacation Policies Can Make Taking Time Off Kind Of Awkward”:
While you'd expect an unlimited policy would result in more days off, it can sometimes do the very opposite, resulting in fewer vacation days, especially for the employees with the biggest workloads. … People will hesitate to take a vacation day as they don't want to seem like that person who's taking the most vacation days. It's a race to the bottom instead of a race toward a rested and happy team. What you will do is push people to the edge of burnout and unhappiness. They'll eventually leave your company.
One company has figured out how to use the reversal to everyone’s advantage, employees and employer alike: Travis CI, a Germany-based software integration company, has mandated a minimum required vacation policy rather than a maximum number of days off.

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