Great idea for a group, Jennifer. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where I can find positive examples of design company policies/experiences and I’m eager to hear them, as well as creative, constructive discussion about ways to improve the bad ones.
I’d like to offer a positive story so I’ll have to reach beyond my design office experience, but it’s a policy that would be extraordinarily easy (and free) for design offices to incorporate. To the issue of sick time, which Jennifer you mention, a large insurance company that I worked for briefly had the perfect solution. No such thing as “sick time.” No such thing as “vacation time.” What, you ask? Simple: all paid time off was accrued in ONE BUCKET and it was called Paid Time Off, or PTO. Annual roll-over policies were typical for vacation time policies, and any planned time off required adequate notice.
However, in the case of personal or family illness, personal business, mental health day, WHATEVER you need because you’re, you know, AN ADULT, PTO hours could be taken without notice, as sick time is traditionally taken. Obviously you can’t have people running around taking PTO whenever they want all the time so you have controls against abuse, but the on-the-ground result of this policy is the (a) “sick time” was eliminated as a fraught benefit that encourages grown men and women to fake sickness in order to cash in the time they actually earned, (b) employees were treated like adults capable of determining when they need occasional paid hours off work to attend to illness/personal needs, (c) employees were more judicious in their use of PTO because, if you wanted, you could use it all as vacation, rather than having to blow it on “calling out” and feeling like you’re letting down your team.
It was a win-win that didn’t cost anyone anything and probably saved the company money in terms of productivity and morale. Wondering if anyone has had this type of progressive policy at a design firm, and if so how it worked out on the ground?