Why MaxCDN Gives Unlimited Paid Time Off
November 20, 2014 | Carme White
When we started MaxCDN, our 2-week paid time off (PTO) policy was easy to manage. After all, there were only a handful of employees at the time.
But as MaxCDN grew, keeping track of PTO became a nightmare. Precious time that could have been spent making the web faster was wasted trying to keep track of employee hours. For this reason and many others (see below), we threw away the 2-week PTO policy in March 2014 and replaced it with an unlimited vacation policy.
To many outsiders, it seemed like a crazy idea. But to us it seemed like the most sensible way to create a strong company culture while working to make the web faster for our clients and their users.
Unlimited Vacation Policies Popular Among Great Companies
According to data collected about a year ago by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 1% of companies in the United States offer unlimited vacation, also referred to as unlimited PTO.
The data collected by SHRM also indicated that 2% of U.S. companies were considering adopting an unlimited PTO policy this year. Therefore, there currently may be anywhere from 1-3% of companies nationwide with an unlimited PTO policy similar to MaxCDN’s.
Netflix is one of these companies – a company that doesn’t like to refer to their policy as “unlimited vacation,” but regardless has no interest in monitoring employee hours, either at work or away from the office. Other companies that have policies similar to Netflix and the unlimited vacation policy used by MaxCDN include:
- and many more
MaxCDN and the majority of companies that have an unlimited vacation policy are service-based, which is why we don’t like to speculate on how great this policy is for other types of businesses. For instance, what works so well for us may not work well for a car manufacturer and other companies that have to consistently produce tangible products to meet quotas.
But the fact still stands: Unlimited vacation works for us and we can’t imagine it any other way.
Everyone Deserves the Same Respect
Looking back, our old 2-week PTO policy seems ... off.
When you’re a startup, your team has a vested interest In making sure the company does well. And really, employees are minority partners who should get the same amount of respect as the general partners do.
For instance, why should the CEO be able to take off when he needs a few days to clear his head when other team players can not? No one says to the CEO: “Hey, do you have available PTO hours to use?”
Because everyone is equally respected at MaxCDN, an employee such as a support engineer or sales rep has the same vacation privileges as the CEO.
Pre-March 2014, it wasn’t clear to us that our vacation policy was out of whack. But as we continue to grow and mature, our policies will mature with us.
In a nutshell, we adopted an unlimited vacation policy
... because MaxCDN employees are respected.
... because MaxCDN employees are committed.
...because limitations don’t make the web faster -- our people do.