Vacation policies are boring, dull, and yet totally essential for the health and morale of your company.

Many businesses don’t have PTO plans because they don’t want to cover everybody fairly. Harsh but true. Some companies don’t want to put money away to pay out unused vacation when you quit, either. So they say things like, “We have unlimited PTO. Take what you need and get your job done.”

Unfortunately, nobody takes unlimited PTO and gets away with it. From the CEO to the junior tax accountant, work needs to get done. There are limits to what the word “unlimited” really means.

And nobody takes enough time off, either. Studies show people take less time off with unlimited PTO than they do with standard plans. In theory, you should take more time off with an unlimited plan. That rarely happens, though. Who wants to be the one taking more vacation than your boss?

So, it’s the beginning of the year. If you work in HR, make sure everybody knows your PTO policy and starts dreaming about time off in all four quarters of the business cycle. If you have unlimited PTO, make sure employees take time off that they need (and deserve). Model good behavior and take time off in 2017, too.

And, if you work in a regular job outside of HR where you’re lucky enough to have PTO, start planning your time away from the office. Unlimited or otherwise, your vacation is part of your total compensation package. Use it or emotionally lose your mind and spirit during the long winter months.

If you don’t have PTO at all because you’re an entrepreneur or solopreneur like me, the world already thinks you have unlimited PTO. Screw those people and show them how it’s done by unplugging and posting some badass latergrams from an enviable location.

No matter how you work, work a little less in 2017. You’ll thank me for this advice in 2018.


  1. All things point to YES. In retail, the store stays open, there is never a “good” time to take off. It is quite essential, when working in the service sector especially, to take that time off. Very often, though, it becomes a tit-for-tat scenario, leaving people nitpicking each other. Thank you for telling superiors to lead by example and encourage time off. I myself have a vacation planned in February–the first in February since 2009!

  2. I have ensured that I have taken a 3-week block vacation each year for the past 6 years. There is no point telling your partner organisations to take vacation if you won’t set the example yourself.

    That amount of time lets you go explore all different parts of the world and you learn all sorts of things about yourself.

    I spent three weeks in Cuba in November and I am going to Namibia in 2017.

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