We all know that paid vacation time is one of the best motivators out there for employees.

A new wave of small businesses are taking this concept to it’s logical but potentially tricky extreme: Unlimited Paid Vacation. This unconventional perk might be difficult to implement but it could also be the edge you’ve been looking for.

One of the most common perks for an employee working at a retail shop is flexibility of hours but as a storeowner it is all too easy to get in the habit of relying on your best employees to cover the busiest shifts. Of course, this makes sense in lots of ways – you don’t want a newbie cashier costing you sales at peak times.

However, before you or your employee even realize it, a year can pass without any real break to rejuvenate and recharge. An exhausted employee can break and quit under too much pressure, especially if you’re business is growing fast. If you want to keep them and keep up productivity, increasing the time they are able to spend away without worry is a good idea.

Tracking accrued days and vacation days can also be a time consuming task for a busy owner. Unlimited time off doesn’t need to be tracked or recorded. Plus, it doesn’t need to be paid out if an employee decides to leave. The time saved can result in more time to focus on your goals, not to mention improving the connection you can achieve with your staff.

Of course, if you are thinking of implementing an unlimited time off policy there are a few questions you should ask yourself before you announce the plan to your crew:

1. How does the approval process work for requested time off?

Depending on your business this could be as easy as ensuring work is getting done and shifts are covered. If you have to navigate certain seasons or clients, adding a quick one-step approval process will help spread vacation time out. Unlimited time off should still be scheduled in line with what is good for your business as you don’t want to leave the counter uncovered.

2. How will you handle an employee that is taking too much time?

The majority of companies that have implemented unlimited time off do not experience anyone taking advantage of the system, but the occasional employee may come across your ranks that takes the idea as a free ride and a policy should be in place before you run in to the situation. Communicating what this system will be and how you will determine that too much time has been taken will lend legitimacy to the program for your employees and give you the tools to handle the occasional over-stepper.

3. How will you ensure employees are taking any time off?

Depending on the work-load and responsibility level of your employees, they could be skirting time off all together. How do you know who is pushing too hard and not getting the time away they need to be productive?  It is important to decide what is best for your company, so you decrease burn out and turn over.

Wanting to attract and keep great employees is a high priority for small business owners. Unlimited time off may be the benefit that helps you go from employees that are merely going through the motions, to employees that are genuinely passionate about your company and your customers.

About the Author

Paul Nugent is a small business advocate, and Head of Marketing at ShopKeep point of sale’s UK headquarters. Paul uses his background in the startup space, along with his POS system expertise, to allow small business owners to make informed decisions within their specific budgets.