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An Open Letter to Richard Branson, About Your “Unlimited Leave” Policy

Source | LinkedIn : By Justin Bariso

Dear Mr. Branson,

Recently you published a post on your company blog, entitled: Get Out of the Office. In short, it details your outlook on the intersection of work and life, and the extremely flexible approach you take to work in general.

As one who ventured into the world of entrepreneurship some years ago, I find we agree on many things–including much of what you wrote in this post. I believe you’re a brilliant and innovative thinker, and I’m a big fan of your down-to-earth manner. (In fact, I once wrote a piece detailing why you’re the most popular entrepreneur in the world.)

But as I continued reading, I couldn’t help but feel that you’re gravely mistaken on a major issue.

It has to do with what you refer to as:

The unlimited leave policy.

You acknowledge that you were shocked to discover that “a third of the British working population are not taking their total annual leave allowance…[meaning] that the UK is surrendering up to 54 million days of holiday time, and instead spending it in the office.”

I agree that this is unhealthy. In the United States, this problem is even worse: One recent survey estimates that over half of the U.S. population left unused vacation time on the table last year.

Surely, this is one reason why you instituted the unlimited leave policy at Virgin Management, which states that all salaried staff are permitted to “take off whenever they want for as long as they want” and that “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.”

This all sounds great.

It’s the next part that worries me.

Read On…

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