I recently found an article published by BBC WorkLife discussing the concept of Unlimited Paid Time Off (UPTO). Apparently, companies like Goldman Sachs have already introduced and implemented UPTO to executives and employees.
Companies are implementing this unusual strategy in an effort to allow employees to achieve a better work/life balance and to focus on their mental health.
Society has been flooded with fluffy, playful and virtuous terms and phrases that ultimately fail to ever be objectively defined.
Take 'mental health' for example. Is having a healthy state of mind important? Absolutely. Nobody would argue with that.
But, what is 'mental health'? How does one know that they've achieved it or are even making progress towards it? Are there any real, objective steps that a company can actually take to ensure its employees are improving their mental health?
Does rewarding employees for taking time off of work, work? Does compensating people regardless of their productivity actually help them make measurable 'mental health' improvements?
As far as I can tell, the answer to each question above is a simple 'no'.
If you want to make measurable, incremental progress towards achieving things like 'happiness' and 'mental health', you have to make progress. Progress requires you do things that are uncomfortable and overcome challenges.
Things like anxiety, depression and self-loathing are found during times of inactivity. When you are prioritizing comfort and avoiding the challenges in your life, you fail to create momentum and make progress.
Offering employees UPTO is well intentioned, but I believe it's harmful. It allows (and even rewards) people to not make progress or produce a result.
It's not surprising that the article also shared that the vast majority of employees who have access to UPTO end up working more than employees who don't.
Work = Progress
Progress = Happiness