If you're a  billionaire who owns Virgin Airlines, it may seem like you don't need to spend too much time working. That is especially true if you own your own private island.

For Richard Branson, that's just his life. Plus, he's often said he loves what he does so much that it doesn't feel like work at all.

The same can't be said for Branson's views on other people's work habits, especially those of employees. Compared to many vocal entrepreneurs, he has a pretty liberal view of the workweek. Branson believes in the "less is more" approach when it comes to work hours, recently explaining that most people would be better suited to invest less time in their job, in favor of having more overall flexibility.

However, in Branson's view, it's not about hours worked but the quality of those working hours. And with modern technology, working remotely and putting in fewer hours is becoming more possible than ever before.

His thoughts on how to make employees more productive and happier: give them a three- or even four-day weekend. Do I agree? Of course. Who in their right mind would disagree with this?

Where I disagree is who is responsible for this. It's not the company's responsibility. Employees should be responsible for making themselves happier and more productive.

As a leader, you aren't superhuman or psychic. You can't foresee employee issues every single time. That's why the best leaders empower their teams to self-manage.

The more it's built into the culture, the more your team will do it all on their own, without waiting around for a manager to notice they're burning out. Here are three ways you can make that happen, starting today:

1. Teach your employees how to say no.

There is value in instilling a Branson-inspired rule. However, not many people would follow it. They'd still work on Fridays. They just won't tell anyone.

It's kind of like in college, where that one really smart kid who says he doesn't study is the one in the library until 3 a.m. every night. Your employees own their schedules, not you.

The best leaders encourage employees to stand up for their own happiness and say "no." Make sure your team knows they won't get reprimanded for standing up to their workloads.

2. Give your team less work and more direction.

The best managers I've ever worked with gave me very specific direction on what they wanted me to achieve, and when they wanted me to achieve it. They praised me on the quality of my work, not the quantity of my work.

They were also great at not assigning random stuff to do every morning. Fewer emergencies meant more time to do better work. You know what happened if they did give me too much work? I literally promised to do less work, and they appreciated it.

It's hard to remember every single thing you did last week. Do you think your boss knows what you did all week? Not a chance.

All she knows is what you promised you'd do, and what you actually got done. See where I'm going with this? If your team members promise less, they will actually get more done.

3. Have your team plan for six hours of work a day, not 10.

It's amazing that you can look at your checklist in the morning and think it's all doable, but by the time its 5 p.m., you're only 20 percent of the way there. The office distractions easily get in the way.

Mentor your team to plan for six hours a day instead of 10. Why? Because if there's one thing I've learned to remind myself of constantly over the years, it's this: Success isn't linear, and it's not one-size-fits-all.

As Branson points out, sometimes the best move for your career is to take some time off so you can get back to being successful at who you are. By doing what is right for you, you can make the most of your time and define success for yourself.

Published on: Oct 1, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.