Google’s 20% time has gained a lot of attention over recent years. Employees can take up to one day a week to work on something unrelated to their work, something they are passionate about. But does it work?

In asking that question, we have split it in two: how does it work and does it actually work? The latter can be interpreted to mean does it work for the employee and does it work for Google?

As an employee incentive, Innovation Time Off (as it is formally known) can be taken by any member of staff. Some people save it up so it can all be used at once, some don’t take it at all. It has certainly caused a stir and marked Google out, yet again, as an innovative company that understands what clever people need to stay inspired at work. Apple and LinkedIn followed suit. Apple called theirs “Blue Sky” and lets employees take two weeks to work on projects outside their normal responsibilities. Software company Atlassian openly calls their programme ‘20% time’.