Dharmesh Shah recently took to defending this policy (or non policy as there is very little to it, employees take vacation when it makes sense to do so) in the New York Times. His basic argument was we all have better things to do than monitor vacation or worry about how to balance work and family so just let people just take vacation when it makes sense.
Now, of course, this assumes people have common sense and as I get older and more cynical, I am beginning to think that common sense is not something all that common. Regardless of my opinion on the state of the world today, I think this non policy is brilliant. It requires managers and employees to work together to establish the best way to manage time. Granted this type of approach is a luxury that many companies cannot use due to corporate culture, union membership, and/or grandfathered attitudes regarding time off.
I love the idea of starting a company and putting in place a team that I know and trust will do what is required of them in order to make the company successful. Imagine being able to treat your employees as responsible adults who are fully capable of managing their time appropriately…they know what needs to be done in their professional capacities and they know what needs to be done in their roles as individuals outside the workplace. Then, they just go and do what needs to be done! It seems so simple, and I think it can be if you are starting from scratch. Changing existing mindsets around such things is a lot harder. That is not to say it cannot be done but that would be a very long involved discussion, more suited to a case study than a blog. In the meantime, I will keep following Mr. Shah and defending his right to do what he knows is best for his company and his employees.