“When Netflix still had your typical vacation policy, employees asked an important question:
“We don’t track the time we spend working outside of the office—like e-mails we answer from home and the work we do at night and on weekends—so why do we track the time we spend off the job?”
Management listened. They couldn’t deny the simple logic behind the question.
Back in the industrial age, when people stood on the assembly line from 9 to 5, paying for time made sense. With advances in technology, however, that’s no longer the case. People work when work needs to be done, from wherever they are. There’s really no such thing as “after hours” anymore.
We’re now operating in a participation economy, where people are measured and paid for what they produce. Yet, when it comes to time off, we’re still clinging to the vestiges of the industrial economy, where people were paid for the time they spent on the job. This is a huge demotivator. Netflix realized this, and it changed its policy to reflect the way that work actually gets done.”
This is an interesting thing to think about, and something that hits very close to home for me. When I spend parts of my weekends traveling to and from training classes, evenings after teaching answering emails and doing other work, and early mornings catching up on emails from the East Coast before I’ve even had my coffee, why is my vacation time doled out in the same old fashion that it would have been had I worked in a factory in 8 hour shifts? For that matter, when I’m not teaching, why should I view my work in 8 hour shifts? Because we’ve always done it that way?
I’m not sure that makes any sense for many of us. Not all, some places still need 8 hour shifts, but for many industries and roles, that just isn’t the case. It’s about the final product, not time in seat.