My companies don't have sick days.
Or vacation days. Or days off. We don't have them and my employees love it.
Ever wonder why most businesses require employees to work at an office during certain hours, even though physical location doesn't have any bearing on most job requirements?
It's the same reason why some employers block most websites, including almost all social networking sites, from being accessed on the company network.
It's the same reason why almost all employees receive a set number of vacation and sick days.
It's a lack of trust. Plain and simple. Employers don't trust employees to do the right thing.
Here's the kicker: it's all an illusion of control. Employees don't want to be controlled, and really can't be controlled in any meaningful way. Want to run a prison? Great"your employees will hate you, won't work hard for you, won't innovate, and will leave as soon as they possibly can. The tighter your grip, the more they'll resent you and want out.
What if employers just trusted employees? What if receiving value wasn't predicated on number of hours or physical location? What if employers didn't stipulate the number of days someone could get sick (how stupid is that?) or how many days of "vacation" someone could take?
Here's what it would look like: "Employee, I trust you. I trust that you understand your duties and responsibilities. If you don't understand, ask me. I trust that I can reach you without having to do an extensive phone number lookup. If you get sick, get better, but please don't infect others (highly ineffective). If you work better from Starbucks or the park, or South Africa, then work there. If you need to be co-located with other employees or clients, I trust you'll be reasonable. You'll receive value (including employment) based on the value you contribute. I look forward to adding value to each others' lives."
You know what would happen if employers did this? They would be able to recruit and retain top talent regardless of physical location, personal circumstance, or business evolution. They'd see a dramatic up-tick in productivity, unlocking tremendous hidden value. Employees would be happier. Employers would be happier. Everyone would be able to take away more value.
This is not an academic exercise. This is how my company operates. For all the employers out there grinding their teeth right now…when we made the shift, we experienced an almost immediate 40-110% increase (depending on employee) in quality output and our employee satisfaction shot through the roof. More value and happier employees made for happier management and higher profits.
If you can't trust your employees, you should get new employees. When you get those new employees, treat them well and they'll treat you well. Pretty damn simple.