Deciding yourself how many days of vacation you take this year? What sounds like the dream of many employees is a reality at byte5. In July 2019, the Frankfurt-based service provider for web solutions introduced their so-called “vacation of trust”. This makes byte5 one of the first companies in Germany in the IT service sector.
© Dirk Beichert
The unlimited paid vacation model – a concept which is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the United States – is still largely unknown in Germany. But how can it work without ruining a company? The answer is already in the German name: mutual trust between employer and employee. “We trust our employees and we trust in their skills. We are convinced that everyone knows best their position in the company and which tasks come with it, how they have to be completed and when in order to successfully finish projects”, says CEO and founder Christian Wendler. The new model is made possible by the agile corporate culture that already existed.
The “vacation flat rate” is based on personal responsibility and the conviction that time is not the only method to measure work. Our principle: result orientation. “Our ‘vacation of trust’ works because we practice a no pain policy. This means that the personal freedom extends to the point where it could cause ‘pain’ to another person or the project. Each employee coordinates their tasks with their colleagues and clients and makes sure that their reach their own goals.” The no pain policy also enables the free organisation of working hours that we have practiced in the past year and a half as well as the flexible home office, none of which have caused any issues since their introduction.
For Christian Wendler, the advantages of the new work culture are obvious: “Family friendliness, self-determination and an individually designed leisure organisation – our experience shows that all of this has a positive effect on the atmosphere at work and consequently on the employees’ performance. For us, granting an infinite number of paid days off is the next logical step in our journey. We are dedicated to transferring the existing model of steady employment into the age of new work.” During the preparation period, we were in exchange with other companies that had already introduced this model. It quickly became apparent that on average, more days off are taken, but with overall efficiency and satisfaction rose along with it.
As an employer, byte5 ensures that everyone on the team takes the statutory minimum claim of 20 vacation days per year. In addition, time off continues to having to be approved. Just the capping of days was abolished. There is no restriction to the unlimited vacation model. The only requirement is that the trial period has been successfully completed. By the way, we grant freedom of choice: the trust vacation model is not imposed on anyone. At the end of each year, every team member can decide for themselves whether they want to use the traditional or the new work model. This is innovation, byte5 style.