➔ Matt Mullenwag (Automattic’s CEO), interviewed in this New York Times Corner Office piece, elaborates on his point about leveling the playing field of everyone at a company via remote work scenarios:
...there’s a world of possibility that opens up when you move from the finite space of a shared office, and all the politics of dividing up the scarce resource of desirable space, to the infinite game where people can define their own “office” as the place where they will be most productive, and do so however they like with no penalties or restraints.
If you had the best space in the legacy office, you probably liked it and may even have had motivated reasoning around ineffable things that happened in the office like “culture” that would be impossible without it, but the average experience of an entry-level worker was not as positive. Now there can be a much more even playing field. At Automattic we have a home office allowance people can use to buy equipment they need to make their home work area comfortable and productive, and it’s the same if you’re leading a team of hundreds or if it’s your first job.
Having been working remote (or, as Matt is trying to formalize as better terms, distributed or decentralized) these past two years after moving to St. Paul (from Chicago), and running a team — at first remotely with mostly centrally-located teammates, then fully remote due to the pandemic — I concur with his rationale. Jason Fried (Basecamp) has leaned in this direction as well, and they’re both right about workplace environments for most computer-oriented companies: this kind of “office” scenario can be better for almost all leveled individuals at an organization, and it evens out equality of workplace environment and time bandwidth on a number of levels. Furthermore in the piece, he also details Automattic’s intriguing way of hiring (hint: all chat-based).