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How We Make Unlimited Vacation Work

At Jana we have an unlimited vacation policy. Lots of companies have switched to this style, but in my experience it ends up with employees taking less time off. That’s messed up. Vacation and sick leave are important to keeping a healthy and happy workforce!

This guy needs a vacation

At Jana, I feel like we’ve got a really good track record on this. Here’s what I think we’ve done that ensures people actually take advantage of this great benefit.

Lead by Example

Our managers take vacation. That sounds pretty simple but it’s so crucial to have examples of what is expected from your team. Telling people to take a vacation can only go so far. Go take one yourself and show everyone that it’s expected!

Set Realistic Goals

If you’re always behind schedule and everything you’re working on is a high priority, you’ll never feel like you can take a break.

We ship code almost every day, which takes a lot of stress out of our release schedule. We do set aggressive goals, but we have reasonable expectations around them. We measure key metrics frequently to prevent surprises at the end of our quarters, and get out ahead of problems as early as possible.

Good planning is important for lots of other reasons (ie. quality of work and/or morale), but can make a real difference when thinking about time-off.

Cross Training

Our engineers are all “full stack” and can expect to work on any part of our product. There are some sacrifices doing this, like ramp up time on an unfamiliar codebase, but myriad benefits. More eyes on a project lead to better discussions. You’ll see less complacency and burnout from people toiling away on the same concepts. Remove bottlenecks from planning scheduling (no more “only Bob can work on that feature because he’s the only one that knows it”), which frees people up for — you guessed it — taking a vacation every now and then!

Creative Incentives

We’ve created a hiring referral bonus that also helps to reinforce our vacation policy. If you make a referral and we hire them, you get to go on a free weeklong vacation (up to $4k) on Jana. I’m proud to say I’ll be going on my first referral vacation in February and it feels great to have coworkers excited about it.

Beach Vacation

Fact: vacations are the best

Want to work at a company that truly cares about employee health and happiness? We’re hiring!

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