The end of face-to-face work: WordPress’s company sells its offices because nobody uses them anymore
Although the vast majority of large technology employees continue to work from offices as luxurious as Apple’s, telecommute, remote work from home, has become a norm rather than assimilated. So it is, that companies like Automattic, the company behind one of the most important publishing platforms in the world, WordPress, is putting it on sale.
Their motives? No one uses them.
We bought some offices around six or seven years ago, quite a good rental price, but no one goes there. Five people go and have 1,300 square meters for them. Something like 270 square meters for each … There are as many board games as people.
The words above belong to Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of the San Francisco-based company. He posted them on his personal blog earlier this year when the fate of the luxurious facilities at Automattic seemed sealed. Several months later, the company has definitely opted to put on sale its gigantic, modern, conditioned space for work.
Centralized and modular, Automattic offices are the perfect example of what can happen to many other physical jobs if automation of labor allows more and more workers to perform their tasks from home. Automattic is a special case: it allowed its employees to choose between working from home and moving to the offices. In both cases, they had at their disposal about $ 250 a month for various stipends (mainly food).
Why is the case of Automattic interesting? Because their employees have chosen to continue their work from home. For many it is a more comfortable option: it gives more flexibility, it is compatible with other household tasks (from laundry to child care in case of a free day at school) and saves the costs of traveling to the office.
Other companies are going in the opposite direction. IBM, for example, revoked a few months ago its now-famous telecommute policy in favor of a greater presence of its workers in the office. Yahoo has been just as belligerent with the possibility that all or almost all of its employees batter day by day in their work from home. The motives? “Together, side by side, we work better”.
One way or another, the future will shift to greater flexibility. Although teleworking will not be a reality for all jobs (those that can not be done via telecommunications, such as the extraction of resources or the construction of infrastructures, will never be done from home), the working environment walks towards greater opportunities of choice and lower classical restrictions. Whether in the office or at home.
By the way, if you have some pocket money, you could take a look at the selling ad here.