Since 2004, Netflix employees have taken as many vacation days as they’ve wanted. They have the freedom to decide when to show up for work, when to take time off, and how much time it will take them to get the job done. As far as I can tell, this hasn’t hurt Netflix one bit. Since instituting the policy, it’s grown its market cap to over $51 billion.
Just because there’s flexibility at Netflix doesn’t mean it lacks accountability. Employees have to keep their managers in the loop, and they’re expected to perform at a very high level. High performance is so ingrained into Netflix culture that they reward adequate performance with a generous severance package.
Netflix employees have unlimited vacation because no one is tracking their time. Instead of micromanaging how people get their jobs done, the leadership focuses only on what matters—results. They’ve found that giving people greater autonomy creates a more responsible culture. Without the distraction of stifling rules, employees are more focused and productive.
While Netflix was one of the first notable American companies to take on an unlimited vacation policy, the idea didn’t start there. Brazilian company Semco has been quietly offering unlimited vacation for more than thirty years.
After a health scare when he was just 21, Ricardo Semler, the son of the company’s founder, realized that the schedule he was keeping was slowly killing him, and that if it could kill him, then it could kill his employees too. So, he made the radical decision to do away with schedules, sick days, and vacation time.
Contrary to the prevailing worry that productivity would plummet, Semler found that employees actually became more productive and fiercely loyal, and when the employees thrived, the company did, too. When Semler first instituted this policy in 1981, Semco was just a $4 million company. It’s now worth over $1 billion.
(This excerpt originally appeared at LinkedIn.)
As agents selling insurance, you can probably relate to the idea of work being something that is happening around the clock. There are e-mails, phone calls, and a whole list of things that need to be addressed at all different times of the day. While this at first could appear as a challenge, it has proven to be a successful work model for a lot of companies, such as Netflix mentioned above.
You have the ability, for the most part, to manage your time. This can be an amazing thing, or something to your detriment. If you don’t have a schedule or plan in place for yourself, you can find yourself wasting that time. You can lose days of valuable time and work. With the new year here, now is the time where everyone reflects on things they want to improve in their personal and work lives, and being able to manage your time better is something most people want to be better at.
Developing a daily work routine can make a huge difference in your work performance. Many years ago Guy Winstead, Vice President of Sales and Services of the Preneed Division at Security National Life, provided us with an example of a work schedule that helped him manage his time as an agent. He makes some of the same points from the excerpt above.
Your plan needs to be for YOU, and YOUR FAMILY. You and your spouse need to plan around family activities – it is as important as a preneed appointment. If you do not share in taking children to ball games, school, family events or just relaxing into your plan – when will you do it? Almost everything that you have or need to do can be planned ahead.
EXAMPLE WORK PLAN:
9:00 – Noon Prospect, deliver obituaries, make presentations, return calls promised from the day before. (Remember: retired and older families are usually home during morning hours.)
Noon – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 Practice, study, read, complete daily reports, listen to sales or self-development CDs and tapes.
2:00 – 5:30 Rest, relaxation, recreation, pick up children, play golf, run errands, etc.
5:30 – 6:00 Dinner (Or where I’m from we call it supper)
6:00 – 6:30 Re-map evening appointments.
6:30 – 9:00 Best hours for presentations, delivering obits, sales, setting appointments, and catching all ages at home.
Total: 8 HOURS WORK TIME
This is just a sample work sheet. You will have to work your own time frame around your other obligations. Just remember that work time pays the bills and allows your family to have what they need. If you can work evenings every other day it is better than not working evenings at all. If you take off a day during the week, work half a day Saturday. Saturday morning is a great day to catch people at home and find families that you can visit the next week and set an appointment with them.
Self-discipline must be developed and maintained if a person wants to succeed. Time management and self-discipline are the key ingredients to successful planning. Time can work for you or against you. Which would you have it do for you? Develop the planning habit.