Firm thanks staff with unlimited paid time off

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FORTY staff in the Sheffield headquarters of a software company are being offered unlimited time off – with pay.

It’s a way of showing how much WANdisco, which is also based in Silicon Valley in California, appreciates its employees, according to Sheffield-born chief executive and co-founder Dave Richards.

“This is not a stunt,” he said. “We trust and value our employees and value results much more than clocking in and clocking out.

“This is just the latest step we’ve taken to ensure WANdisco’s staff actually enjoy coming to work. We’ve been fortunate to have some of the most dedicated staff in the business. It’s time to give something back.”

Staff n the Electric Works near the railway station will be able to take as much holiday as they need and the company will pay.

Mr Richards believes the new policy will ensure staff continue to be “the same productive, enthusiastic employees who made this company what it is today”.

In a blog, he says: “If we really trust and value our employees then this shouldn’t be a problem. We are not running some sort of Dickensian sweatshop where everyone clocks in at nine and is playing solitaire to bide time until the clock strikes five.

“I was walking back to our UK office late into the evening last week. It was dark but I could see the building in the distance. I was immensely proud to see that of the three or four floors, only one floor was still illuminated. Yes it was ours.

“Just about everyone was still there. Not because we were paying them to be there, not because anyone was forcing them to be there. They were there out of choice. They are a team that works together to get the job done.”

Mr Richards adds: “We value actual productivity more than biding time at the office, we trust each other to do the right thing, we recognise that work is not actually at the centre of everyone’s universe, we have unlimited paid vacation days!”

Jessica Thornsby, from WANdisco’s Sheffield office, was sure nobody would abuse the scheme. “The team here is really, really great,” she said. “They are all committed. We don’t mind putting in the extra hours when we have a heavy workload, especially when something like this happens. It’s really nice to be appreciated.”

Ms Thornsby predicted that the initiative would help the company to recruit more of the highly-skilled staff it needs. “We are looking to expand. We are always looking to employ people and this will help to attract them.”

WANdisco’s products dominate the software development market around the world. It announced in 2008 that it was moving its European centre from London to Sheffield, attracted by cheaper operating costs, the wide availability of graduates, the area’s proximity to London, the good healthcare system and access to public sector grants.

The company, which employs 30 staff in Silicon Valley, is aiming to float on the Stock Exchange later this year.