At the beginning of 2022, Vero announced a region-wide unlimited leave policy, with the goal of streamlining the leave-taking process and enabling Vero team members to take days off as needed and counter the too-common trend of workers delaying their holidays until it’s too late.
The result over the first six months of 2022 was a more than doubling of leave taken (excluding sick leave), from an average of 2.31 days per team member to an average of 5 days per team member. Typically, more annual leave is taken in the second half of the year, and the Vero HR teams forecast this to hold true for the remainder of 2022.
Vero sees this increase in uptake as a sign of the program’s success. The ASEAN regional agency’s goal for 2022 is for each team member to take at least 15 days of annual leave.
“Initial conversations around unlimited leave policies come from our core value of trust. We trust our team to do the right thing, and our unlimited leave policy reflects this. While this issue always comes with understandable concerns around productivity,’ says Supreeyaporn Sihawong, People and Culture Manager at Vero.
In fact, the agency has continued to grow, earning 200% fee income growth between H1, 2021 and H1, 2022 and 135% fee income growth between H2 2021 and H2 2022.
In the lead-up to announcing the new policy, Vero implemented this new governance strategy by first gathering questions and concerns from across the company via a focus group to better analyze policy terms. When Vero rolled out the unlimited leave policy, it came with an extensive internal travel campaign, via regular emails, and social media posts, which encourage employees to book time off and helpful guidelines to reassure management and clients.
“Vero has a flexible workplace policy across all five office locations, and unlimited leave is an important part of this. Being able to take leave without anxiety means that our team can have healthier, happier, more balanced lives. Having time to relax and de-stress impacts the creativity and quality of their work and helps prevent burnout, so they can continue to work hard and take care of themselves and their families,” says Vu-Quan Nguyen-Masse, VP of Brand & Culture at Vero.
“We actively encourage our team members to take large chunks of time off to experience different places, foods, and environments. All these activities help to boost creativity and productivity on their return to work,” adds Nguyen-Masse.
More Flexibility and Less Anxiety
As for the team members themselves, most agree that the unlimited leave policy is a positive change that gives them more freedom and flexibility when taking time off.
“At first, I thought that I would be more worried about my workload, but [the unlimited leave policy] makes it possible to take time off without anxiety,” says LookPla Anantawana, a Digital Creative Art Manager in Thailand.
“In past jobs, it always felt like someone was tracking the length of my coffee breaks and expecting me to keep working even on my days off. But at Vero, it feels like I’m part of a workplace that genuinely cares about my well-being,” said Sasha Alwani, VP of Growth, ASEAN. “With unlimited leave, I feel less stress about planning time off. I don’t have to worry about whether attending one friend’s wedding will mean missing another, and I can balance work and leisure in a way that keeps me healthy.”