Throw away your company's vacation policy

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(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY Ask any psychologist, and you'll hear that the best way to ensure productivity is by ensuring adequate downtime -- hence the generous vacation policy at many successful companies. But rather than two- or three-week vacation allotments, some forward-looking companies are eliminating vacation policies altogether.

I don't mean that they have done away with vacation. Instead, they've eliminated vacation time tracking, and instituted an honor system in which people take the time they need, when they need it. Fast Company recently profiled several businesses that are switching to this new system, and it appears to be successful.

According to Fast Company, it isn't just wacky start-ups which have tossed out vacation policies -- established businesses like IBM, Netflix, and Accessibility Partners have all moved to this new model.

One vacation-policy-free company is Hubspot. Says CEO Brian Halligan:

One thing we are pretty sure about is that it's a less stressful way to manage [vacation time]. Employees take the vacation when they need it and we don't have a spike of vacations at specific points of time.

Like telecommuting policies, which have shown to increase productivity and lead to employees working longer, but less stressful hours at home, this approach has the benefit of letting people get their assignments completed on a schedule that includes more "mini-vacations" and thus more consistent and predicable workflows across the company.

Indeed, The Motley Fool weighs in on the concept:

The idea of vacation days is a flawed concept from the start. Fools have the freedom to plan their lives how it works best. We trust them to understand the demands of their role and plan accordingly. If you have a big deadline or target date for a project, then you probably know that would be a good day to be at the office.

What's your take? Is this a policy that would work at your organization? Sound off in the comments.

Photo courtesy Flickr user