Asterisk, and other worldly endeavours.

A blog by Leif Madsen

Interesting article about *not* tracking holidays at Netflix


The following is an interesting article about not tracking workers time spent at work, or on vacation, but rather tracking their productivity. As a consultant who doesn’t have a fixed set of hours in the day that I work, I tend to judge my productivity by the number of hours I get to bill each week (i.e. how productive was I working for customers, rather than playing Flight Simulator :)).

I haven’t tracked actual holidays for years now (since I started consulting full time out of school in 2003), and I’m not sure I ever had a job long enough prior to school that I received any sorts of benefits of holidays. Perhaps it’s just natural for me because of that, but this article reminds me of two things:

1) I should actually take some holidays when I need to recharge, and not feel like I *need* to be on-call 24/7/365

2) That other companies are really starting a paradigm shift about how they treat their employees work hours

It seems companies are starting to get it, and not bother with tracking the employees hours at work, which isn’t a very good indication of the amount of work they are getting done. A better method is likely to work in sprints and to allocate a certain number of tasks with priorities and estimated number of hours associated with each of those tasks. At the end of each sprint you determine what was good, what was bad, and what things didn’t get done (certain issues taking longer than expected, other issues going faster than expected, other issues with higher priority coming up, etc).

By tracking the productivity, the company isn’t at risk of everyone taking a salary and then screwing off for several months at a time. The accountability for productivity can keep that in check. The methods used for tracking productivity though are probably the most important part of implementing a non-policy on holidays such as this.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/7945719/Netflix-lets-its-staff-take-as-much-holiday-as-they-want-whenever-they-want-and-it-works.html

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Written by Leif Madsen

2010/08/25 at 3:07 pm

3 Responses

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  1. On the topic of innovative time tracking methods used by hip tech companies: Google’s Work on what you want 25% of your time policy. But if performance is better measured in productivity not time, does that mean Google should revise its policy to “Work on what you want with 25% of your productivity?” lol

    Ken Lee

    2010/08/27 at 11:52 am

  2. That’s funny, but I don’t think you’re wrong! πŸ™‚

    It probably should be 25% of your productivity πŸ™‚

    Leif Madsen

    2010/08/30 at 1:40 pm


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