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Vacation Matters. Seriously.

By askdotcom // August 2nd, 2012

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PTO is meant to be a time to hit the restart button, shut off the work side of your brain and regroup. If done right, you come back ready to get back to work – bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. There’s just one problem – do you have enough PTO days accrued to take your dream vacation? Will your manager approve the PTO days you had planned for a trip to your hometown? Or will you be forced to negotiate some “unpaid” time for an unexpected emergency that demands you’re out of the office three days in a row?

Almost three years ago, Ask.com CEO, Doug Leeds, decided to nip these issues in the bud on behalf of our employees with an “Unlimited PTO Un-Policy”. As you can imagine, the idea of offering unlimited PTO raised a lot of questions. How would this be managed? Will we actually get any work done if we don’t put a limit on vacation time? Doug’s thinking was, we hire committed responsible adults to manage the growth of our company – people who know how to get their jobs done. This will work for us.

Three years later, our “unlimited vacation” approach has proven his theory true. Our ~ 230 employees have enjoyed the unique flexibility our approach provides, allowing them to truly unplug from work life (no accruals required) while justifying the company’s trust in them to balance workload with time out of the office.

Ask.com was an early jumper on the unlimited PTO bandwagon, but others have joined our ranks – Evernote and Zynga being two examples. And of course the pioneer, Netflix, with whom our CEO Doug consulted to get feedback straight from the horse’s mouth before Ask rolled out the offer to its own employees. We’re glad to see that more and more of our fellow tech companies here in the Bay Area are agreeing with Ask’s perspective and offering unlimited PTO to its employees.

Enjoy the rest of the summer – we know we are!

- Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com

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