BuildDirect CEO says unlimited vacation for employees will be positive for productivity

jeff booth

Startups are known for their flexibility towards work, but what that flexibility means can be different for every company — some entrepreneurs believe in putting in as many hours as necessary every week to build the company, and others believe in finding ways to work smart rather than working hard.

“We hire capable people and fully trust in them to take ownership of what they need to get accomplished.”

Jeff Booth, CEO of Vancouver-based BuildDirect, has taken the latter stance in an announcement that the company would allow its employees to take unlimited vacation. Booth said that unlimited vacation will increase productivity by giving employees freedom to build the life that they want. In a LinkedIn post, Booth said that, besides the fact that time off allows employees to recharge and reconnect with family and friends, unlimited time off will give employees the opportunity to learn in ways outside of the company, such as developing new interests and pursuing hobbies.

“I don’t think unlimited vacation will decrease productivity, if anything, I think it will increase it. Leaders in our business have always had the discretion to manage their teams to deliver results and be flexible with respect to individual needs, which we find works well for our culture,” Booth told BetaKit. “There are guidelines and limited structure to our vacation program and like any program in an organization, implementation matters — very much — but the spirit of this change reflects our desire to give more discretion and flexibility.”

Ultimately, Booth said that the point having an unlimited vacation is to show trust in employees, and he believes that they are the best judges for the time off they need. “We hire capable people and fully trust in them to take ownership of what they need to get accomplished in order to deliver remarkable results, and balance that against how much vacation they need,” said Booth. “Giving our team unlimited vacation time is a step towards realizing our vision, which is to open a world of possibilities.”

BuildDirect last raised a $50 million Series C in December 2014 to rapidly scale its home marketplace service. At one point, OMERS Ventures CEO John Ruffolo said that BuildDirect could be ready for an IPO.

Related: Why Indiegogo’s Steve Tam says work-life balance doesn’t exist