How 'Unlimited' Time Off Helps Separate Top Performers From Slackers

Joel Trammell
Joel Trammell

Technology has changed the way people work, but that change hasn't all been in one direction.

Working remotely, for example, is easy and productive thanks to robust technology offerings that virtually erase the differences between one's home or local coffee shop, and one's office.

Still, companies that have experimented with very open work-from-home policies have backtracked recently, Yahoo for example.

The latest offering in the work/life wars was Virgin's recently announced unlimited vacation policy. When founder Richard Branson made the announcement earlier this month, it came off as benevolent, or at least empathetic.

A close reading of Branson's statement revealed not largesse, but something quietly threatening. Sure, Virgin employees can take all the vacation days they want, but their work better be done before they go. All of it. And it better be done to a standard that eliminates the need for follow-up from co-workers and managers. If there are questions or concerns, they want to be able to reach the vacationing employee.

Joel Trammell, a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Khorus, a company that develops software used to predict employee performance among other things, has used an unlimited time off policy at the companies he's headed.

NEXT: What does vacation really mean?