Traditionally, it’s been an accepted rule that to succeed in the workplace, you have to put in longer hours and take fewer holidays. Today, 14-hour work days are commonplace and it’s not unheard of for years to go by without employees taking a single day off.
According to the latest World Travel Market (WTM) Global Trends Report, this way of life is simply unsustainable. Decades of this mode of thinking has resulted in a frazzled and holiday-deprived population and has left companies having to deal with employee burnout and lacklustre productivity.
But a few pioneering companies think they may have found a solution. Netflix, Virgin Group and Evernote are all trying a completely new approach by introducing unlimited and unmonitored leave, letting employees take off as much time as they want. Some companies are even taking this trend to the next level, by offering employees holiday allowances to ensure they have some spending money to enjoy while they travel.
The result? A happier and more productive workforce that respects their new found freedom enough not to abuse their situation.
For now, the trend is far more prevalent in the US and the UK than it is in Africa, but it may just be a matter of time before local companies decide to follow their lead – and if they do, there are some knock-on effects the travel industry should anticipate:
· Last-minute travel: Employees tend to take time off when it has the least impact on the business – but they are likely to only know this at the last minute. Packaged holidays are likely to become more popular as people opt for trips that require minimal planning.
· Year-round travel: We are likely to see more people travelling throughout the year rather than around public holidays when prices tend to be higher.
· Millennials: The companies that are currently leading the way in terms of unlimited leave tend to be those focused on high-tech industries. These attract a workforce of millennials who are also very particular in terms of the travel preferences. From Cultural Purists to Social Capital Seekers and Ethical Travellers – agents will need to gain a deep understanding of what fuels these new markets.