I was thrilled to participate in TED’s new video series, The Way We Work, and not surprisingly I made the case that distributed work is where everything is headed.

It has over 130,000 views already! What I really love about this video in particular is that we get into the specifics of how a company can start to embrace a culture of letting employees work from anywhere, even if it started out as a traditional office with everyone in the same place. Automattic never started that way, so even as we’ve scaled up to more than 840 people in 68 countries, there’s never been a question — it’s now built in to our entire culture.

For distributed work to scale up, it’s going to require more CEOs, workers, and managers to test the waters. Any company can experiment with distributed work — just pick a day or two of the week in which everyone works from home, I suggest Tuesdays and Thursdays, then build the tools and systems to support it. Yes, that may require some shuffling of meetings, or more written documentation versus verbal real-time discussion. But I think companies will be surprised how quickly it will “just work.”

If the companies don’t experiment, workers may force them to do it anyway:

5 replies on “My TED Video on the Future of Work”

  1. Nice video, I’ve shared it – almost spammed it – to all of my fb friends.
    I’m not fond of the background colour though, I would have chosen WordPress institutional blue, or some light-blue light as a background (it would have given you a very befitting ‘aura’). Regards

  2. Ever run for–and ultimately miss–a train on the way to work? How about missing an hourly-only train at the end of a 13-hour day? Well, now it’s a 14-hour day! Profound vid (“nomads,” B&B, LOL)!
    Cheers, “Mr. Motivator!” You’re in a zone!

  3. This is great, Matt. Automattic was one of the inspirations and role models when we transitioned our company from an office to being fully distributed. I agree that distributed companies represent a revolution and are on the cutting edge of something big. I got a chance to write a bit about our transition for GoDaddy’s blog:

    https://www.godaddy.com/garage/why-we-ditched-our-fancy-silicon-valley-office-to-work-from-home-2/

    I grew up in Silicon Valley and the saturation of people there is overwhelming. The booming tech economy has plenty of upsides, but many of the people I grew up with have essentially been squeezed out. Traffic and parking are a nightmare. I think distributed companies and teams have the potential to relieve and really improve the quality of life in some of our major metropolises.

    While I am a huge fan of distributed work, one struggle I’ve experienced personally and heard from many others is the isolation of working remotely. Has that come up at Automattic? You mentioned get-togethers, are there other ways you help employees maintain social bonds? I think some personality types struggle less with the “cabin fever” that comes with spending long periods working alone. I hope Automattic will continue to innovate and lead the way and find new ways for the extroverts and social butterflies to adapt and thrive on distributed teams! 🙂

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