Automattic -- the company behind WordPress -- has a fantastic teleworking policy that lets workers chose whether to come into offices in Portland, MN, Capetown, South Africa, and San Francisco, or to spend up to $250/month on a co-working space near them, or to work at any coffee shop with a stipend to pay for the coffee.
It's worked so well that almost none of the company's San Francisco-area employees ever show up at the 15,000 square foot offices in the city, despite its games-tables, kitchen, library, and gorgeous decor. So they've put the space on the market.
While Automattic fervently embraces remote working, other companies have gotten cold feet. In 2013, Marissa Mayer, then the CEO of Yahoo, famously ended the company telecommuting policy, telling employees in a memo from HR that for the best results “we need to be working side-by-side.”
More recently, IBM—a pioneer of remote working—told thousands of US employees they’ll need to begin working in offices. The goal is to make the company’s workforce more nimble and, similar to Yahoo’s aim, to foster creativity through working “shoulder-to-shoulder.” But to employees who have built a life around working from home, IBM’s still-theoretical productivity gains come as small consolation.
The company behind WordPress is closing its gorgeous San Francisco office because its employees never show up
John Perry Barlow lived many lives: small-time Wyoming Republican operative (and regional campaign director for Dick Cheney!), junior lyricist for the Grateful Dead, father-figure to John Kennedy Jr, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, inspirational culture hero for the likes of Aaron Swartz and Ed Snowden (and, not incidentally, me), semi-successful biofuels entrepreneur... He died this year, shortly after completing his memoir Mother American Night, and many commenters have noted that Barlow comes across as a kind of counterculture cyberculture Zelig, present at so many pivotal moments in our culture, and that's true, but that's not what I got from my read of the book -- instead, I came to know someone I counted as a friend much better, and realized that every flaw and very virtue he exhibited in his interpersonal dealings stemmed from the flaws and virtues of his relationship with himself.
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