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What's it like to work for a company with unlimited holiday? We visited Reddico in Tonbridge


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Imagine working at a place where you can take as much holiday as you like, decide your own hours and there is no boss in sight.

Well, for staff at award-winning marketing agency, Reddico, this is reality.

At this trendy Tonbridge company, it's the employees who are in control and there's even a beer fridge in the office.

Do you think unlimited holiday is a good idea? Have your say in the poll below.

Reddico's head of operations, Luke Kyte, was the guy who introduced unlimited holidays
Reddico's head of operations, Luke Kyte, was the guy who introduced unlimited holidays

And it seems to be going down a treat.

Reddico was named the best place to work in Kent by UK’s Best Workplaces this year, and 9th in the UK.

On top of this, it had its highest revenue ever in 2018 and has smashed profit records every month since January.

Luke Kyte talking about unlimited holiday and other Reddico perks.

Luke Kyte, head of operations, was at the forefront of implementing the unconventional concept at Reddico.

He said: "Recently we implemented the manifesto of changes at the company where people have self-regulated holidays, they can choose their own hours, they can work from home whenever they want and choose their own manager.

"The reason we did this was to create a culture of engagement and to give people self-autonomy. They can focus on what they're doing. pick hours when they're most productive and know they can work to their best. So, people have the opportunity to come in in the morning when they want to, can leave throughout the day and can work from home in the evening.

"Most businesses run a nine to five but not everyone performs best like that."

At digital marketing agency, Reddico, you can choose what time you start work
At digital marketing agency, Reddico, you can choose what time you start work

He added: "Everyone is different - some people love working in the morning, some people love working in the evening.

"It's a varied mix what time people work here, depending on their lifestyle, but the hours they put in end up being quite similar to an average working week.

"Why as a business should we make people work set hours? Let people choose when they work and how they work and you'll find a much more engaged culture."

Unlimited holiday, which has also been adopted by Netflix and Virgin Management, was introduced by Reddico after a survey revealed lack of staff fulfilment.

Luke added: "Even though we had really cool perks like a ping pong table and beer fridge, this wasn't what people actually wanted.

Reddico's Tonbridge office strikes a balance between hard work and relaxation
Reddico's Tonbridge office strikes a balance between hard work and relaxation

"I realised we had so much unnecessary management and not enough flexibility."

He gradually introduced the idea of unlimited holiday, choice over working hours and no bosses, and staff jumped on board.

"Department leads" and "coaches" have since replaced managers, which means there is guidance but no real authority.

However, there are a select few who are having to be told to take more holiday.

So does this reveal a flaw in the plan which at first glance seems like a dream working environment?

Richard Branson introduced unlimited holiday to Virgin Management in 2014
Richard Branson introduced unlimited holiday to Virgin Management in 2014

When Richard Branson brought it to Virgin Management, he said "staff can take off whenever they want for as long as they want" but warned to not let their absence "in any way damage the business."

Becky Simms, CEO of another Kent digital marketing agency, Reflect Digital, considered unlimited holiday but instead introduced a four day working week.

Reflect Digital CEO, Becky Simms
Reflect Digital CEO, Becky Simms

She said: "After speaking to some other business owners who tried unlimited holiday, they saw people were taking less days off.

"Some thought this was great but I think holiday is something we should have and we shouldn't be made to feel guilty.'"

However, Luke argues staff only feel this way if they don't have a firm grasp of the concept.

He said: "People just need to be reassured it's not an issue for them to take holiday.

"We monitor our staff to make sure they're taking enough time off, which is really important."

Luke with three other Reddico directors at UK's Best Workplace 2019 awards
Luke with three other Reddico directors at UK's Best Workplace 2019 awards

But, the main question is - are staff happier now?

According to the UK's Best Workplace results, it seems the answer is yes.

Employees anonymously rated Reddico and it came out with at least 96% in all categories.

One member of staff, Dave Hatton, said: "It's completely refreshing. The whole idea is we are all adults and it's about having respect.

"You just have to make sure you're not impacting another team member."

Jo James, chief executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce
Jo James, chief executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

Jo James, chief executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, believes its important to strike a balance.

She said: "We all like engagement but it's often much easier to focus at home.

"The key is putting the employees in control."

Senior psychology lecturer, Wendy Iredale, says several theories back unlimited holiday.

Wendy Iredale, senior psychology lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University
Wendy Iredale, senior psychology lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University

She said: "People who have higher job satisfaction usually work more effectively. Therefore companies who encourage this environment with unlimited holiday or letting people choose their own hours have more productive workers.

"One theory, locus of control, states if you are in more control of your work life, you will be have better job satisfaction."

Reddico is proof that as as long as employers are responsible and staff know where they stand, this modern way of working can indeed make people happier while also increasing profit.

Who knows, in 50 years, this might be the norm.

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