Skift Take

Remote work is starting to trigger more sweeping changes within companies, while some people are even questioning the very concept of the vacation. It's time to move the conversation along.

Series: Future of Work

Future of Work

As organizations start to embrace distributed work and virtual meetings, the corporate travel and meetings sectors are preparing for change. Read Skift’s ongoing coverage of this shift in business travel behavior through the lens of both brands and consumers.

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Remote work is old news at ruby Life, the technology company behind the controversial married dating platform Ashley Madison. Like many organizations, it’s in the process of closing its offices. First to go will be its HQ in Toronto, where more than 110 employees work. But at the same time it’s writing new policies — policies typically associated with larger organizations like Netflix and LinkedIn. Remote work proved to be a stepping stone to bigger things for ruby Life, whose app is used by millions of people across 50 countries. For example, it began offering an unlimited vacation period from January this year, and moved to a four-day week one year ago. “I’d love to say we had this amazing plan, and this is how it was going to work, but it kind of evolved,” said Tara Bedford, vice president of human resources. “We gave everyone a couple of days off last summer, as Covid was draining everybody. We did that a couple of times, and didn’t notice any impact. People were still getting the work done and driving the business forward. So we decided to pilot it — it’s coming up on a year.” ‘The Possibilities Are Amazing’ The byproduct of having an unlimited vacation policy means staff now have even more scope to roam. “You can go somewhere for six weeks, and work for three. The possibilities are amazing,” Bedford said, adding she’s aware of “four other substantial companies” in Toronto looking at adopting this too. She keeps her ear to the ground with peers, and part of the reason is the talent shortage, especially for developers. In Toronto there’s an influx of technology companies moving in, including Netflix, IBM, Amazon and Stripe, which is driving up demand. Companies need to make their offering as attractive as possible, and find different ways to attract people. [caption id="attachment_436475" align="alignright" width="300"] One hotelier predicts a rise in company-sponsored satellite retreat sites in idyllic locations. Picture: Unsplash[/caption] "Remote work is a start. Working from anywhere i