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There’s nothing like a long, uninterrupted week of vacation from your regular nine to five job. But if you’re anything like the majority of the workforce, you probably find it challenging to forget about work and actually recharge. Which is why one employer’s trying out a vacation policy that’s a bit… nontraditional.

Shashank Nigam, the CEO of airline marketing service SimpliFlying, has made it mandatory for his nine employees to take one week of vacation every eight weeks, and if they so much as reply to a work text or email on their time off, they don’t get paid for that entire week. Now is that a bit extreme? Probably. But do the employees at SimpliFlying feel recharged and ready to work every day? With all that time off, they better.

“Given the [distractions] in our workplace like Slack, emails and messages coming in, to ensure our staff wasn’t working during that week off, I put in a clause that said if I see any Slack activity or response to any messages, you will not be paid that week,” Nigam explained.

After hearing a Ted Talk on how powerful taking time off can be, Nigam was inspired to put this vacation policy in place — especially once he noticed that his employees were anxious about taking time off from work.

“One of the biggest problems with previous holiday systems was that you could never really forget about work,” stated Marco Serusi, an employee at SimpliFlying. “With ours you are forced to disconnect. It literally is forced peace of mind.”

Until the mandatory vacation policy came into place, SimpliFlying employees could take off as much vacation time as they wanted.

“We had staff who took more vacation than usual and some who didn’t take it at all, so having an unlimited vacation policy was almost like having no vacation policy at all,” Mogam said. “People were feeling guilty, and I didn’t see anyone utilizing it to the fullest.”

According to Nigam, the team’s overall level of productivity has increased by a whopping 17 per cent since adopting the system, and he’s gotten plenty of good feedback about it from his employees.

But a strict vacation policy isn’t the only thing this company uses to improve its work culture. They also go on a company retreat four times a year to help facilitate team bonding and help everyone unwind.

“Because we are a small company we have to fight hard to attract the top talent,” said Nigam. “A strong culture is a good way to market ourselves to potential employees and attract the best.”

Sounds like they could be onto something.

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