Hawaii, Nairobi, Beijing.

Places I will not be going in 2012.

But not for lack of vacation time.

One thing I love about England is the enforced protection of work/life balance. In fact, I am already dreading the day when I have to work in the United States again — do I live in the future too much?!

But maybe things are changing for modern working men and women Stateside.

This popped into my inbox yesterday. The subtitle particularly drew me in: Will giving workers time off also increase their productivity?

Now, there is no way that having 30 days of leave plus 8 public holidays (when I worked for Oxford University — good times) increased my productivity. Keble College Chapel as viewed across the quad...It increased my happiness, sure. It side-stepped issues of competition because everyone took their 30 days if not more, and summer office life was, uniformally, dead in the city.

But did it make me more productive?

It was what it was. A statutory fact of worklife.

What I read this article to be saying is that by empowering employees to make their own responsible decision about unlimited holiday, bosses allow workers to balance their own needs with the company’s. And then, crucially, this increased awareness (perhaps) of responsibility would bleed into employees’ work life as a whole, enforcing an attitude of working to the task, and not the clock. English: An artist's depiction of the rat race...

This feels basically right.

Yet, part of me struggles to believe that “vacation” wouldn’t just become another arena of competition within an organisation, with ambitious workers fighting to be the cream at the top of the milkpail.

Can we working adults handle these decisions on our own, balancing the scales, prioritizing our physical and mental wellbeing when necessary without advisement by a legal code?

What do you think? Do you wish you had more, less, or unlimited holiday allotment? Can we handle the pressure?!


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