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What Happens When a Company Gives Their Employees Unlimited Leave?

What Happens When a Company Gives Their Employees Unlimited Leave? Article Image

19. December 2023

On December 6th, Prof. Dr. Jessica de Bloom, a work- and organizational psychologist from the University of Groningen, joined the DSI Community Work in Zurich to present her research tackling this question. Unlimited paid time off policies are widely discussed by HR professionals around the globe. Would employees continue working and remain productive if they could instead enjoy free time while being paid their regular salary?

In her talk, “Self-Management, Freedom, and the Future of Work: The Case of Unlimited Leave,” Prof. Bloom explained how she has tested this question, examining the effects and underlying processes of an unlimited paid time off policy which was introduced in a large company in the financial sector in the Netherlands. Her research finds that unlimited leave can engender beneficial work outcomes. But employee´s sense of autonomy is put at risk. Future working life requires new skills to be developed on the individual level (e.g., self-reflection), on the team-level (e.g., negotiation strategies) as well as organizational support to orchestra the delicate interplay between collective and individual freedom.

The wider Zurich community and members of the public attended the talk.

About the Speaker
Prof. de Bloom completed her PhD the Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands) in 2012. Next, she worked as a post-doc researcher at the University of Tampere (Finland), collaborating with and learning from top researchers in the field of occupational health psychology. She is now an Associate Professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Her area of expertise concerns the interface between work and non-work time and she is particularly interested in job stress and recovery from work, as well as e-mental health and occupational interventions to improve well-being at work.