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Unlimited Paid Time Off: Essential to Realizing Work Life Balance?

Woman's headshot with blurred background By Jessica Chronchio March 17, 2020

Categories: Company Culture HR Hangout

Unlimited Paid Time Off and the Benefits it Brings Your Company

At Motus, our mission is to make work-life better for mobile workers and their managers. And because we’re so focused on making work-life better for our users, it’s especially important to us that we promote an excellent work-life at Motus for our team members. We do this in a myriad of ways – but one unique perk we offer is unlimited paid time off. So, what exactly does that mean for our company? And how does Motus make it work?

Unlimited Paid Time Off (PTO)

As the term implies, we do not limit the number of days a team member can take off. Instead, we encourage everyone to take time off when they need or want it. Feeling sick? Take the time you need to feel better without worrying about an arbitrary number of sick days in your bank. Ahead on your work and want to take a long weekend? Awesome! Check with your manager and take next Friday off – without worrying about the impact to your holiday plans.

How Unlimited PTO Started at Motus

At Motus, one of our cultural tenants is Work Smart. This is about giving our team members the tools, resources, and flexibility to work in the way that is most effective for them. A key component of this is managing to results – and not the time someone spends at their desk. Our unlimited PTO policy was a natural extension of this.

When we rolled out the new policy five years ago, we were met with some initial skepticism. Some managers were concerned their team members would abuse the privilege and take an excessive number of days off. Some team members were concerned that without accrued time, they’d be discouraged from taking time off. In reality – none of these concerns proved true. The rollout was smooth, people enjoyed not to have to nickel and dime their vacation time, and job candidates and new hires were thrilled to learn about this unique perk.

Unlimited PTO and Working Healthy

Another one of our core cultural tenants is Work Healthy. This is all about promoting the health and wellbeing of our team members. Our team members can take sick time whenever they need it – but sometimes people are busy and hesitate to call out sick because they have a key meeting or a project that they’re excited to wrap up.

On top of unlimited PTO, Motus has a flexible working environment that supports working from home. So even if someone doesn’t want to take a sick day, they can still take it easy, work in their sweats, and avoid getting anyone else sick. We also do other things – like annual flu shot clinics, healthy snacks in our café and a gym/health class subscription – to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Problems with Unlimited PTO?

There have only been a few instances where we’ve had to discuss attendance over the years. We generally see people take 3-4 weeks off per year with the unlimited vacation policy. Some people take less, and some people take more, but the underlying message with time-off is simple. As long as you are delivering results and doing your job well, you can take as much or as little time-off as you want.

We try to bring it back to ownership and accountability. Individuals work with their managers to ensure they’re making decisions about whether to take or not to take time-off that fits best with their team’s interests and the needs of the business. Also, we often find that if a team’s leaders take time-off, it encourages the people on their team to take time-off.

Unlimited PTO and Work-Life Balance

At Motus, we care deeply about promoting a healthy work-life balance. It’s a central part of our culture. Yet we recognize that everyone is different, and we don’t expect everyone’s approach to work-life balance to be the same. Our unlimited PTO policy gives the freedom back to our teams to manage their time and results – and continues to be a valued perk and tenant of our culture.

Interested in reading more of our HR content? You can find it here!

Take me to the HR Hangout

The HR Hangout is a recurring series on the Motus blog featuring advice from Jessica Chronchio, Director of People Operations at Motus. A proven Human Resources leader, Jessica has her master’s degree in Human Resources Management and is an active member of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). The topics covered range from empowering HR in the boardroom, best practices around people management, insights on industry trends, and advice for today’s HR leader.

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