WordPress Showed Me the Power of Distributed Work. It’s Time to Share What We’ve Learned.

distributed work, by lily padula

My life’s work is WordPress. But in building my life’s work, I discovered something just as important:

Talent is evenly distributed around the globe, but opportunity is not.

With WordPress, I discovered the power of open source software development. I met a group of like-minded people online, and we worked together to build a publishing platform that now powers over one-third of all websites on the internet.

In our quest to democratize publishing, I realized we were also changing the way work gets done. While the early companies of Silicon Valley started out in garages and cramped workspaces, WordPress was being built without any offices at all.

When I founded Automattic as the parent company of WordPress.com, we went all in on the future of work. We would be an entirely distributed company with no central offices. All our work would be online. We’d use internal blogs, group chat, and videoconferencing for our meeting spaces.

Now here we are in 2019, and Automattic has grown to 900 employees working from 68 countries. I’ve learned so much about distributed work. I know it’s the right path.

We’re not alone. Hundreds of companies are now fully distributed. Even more are partially distributed or allow flexible work options for employees. When we open our laptops at home or check our work email from our phones, we’re doing distributed work and we might not even realize it.   

If CEOs don’t embrace distributed work, the workers will soon demand it. A flexible work schedule is rapidly becoming one of the most sought-after perks for talent. Those who don’t offer it will soon get left behind. With the Distributed podcast I wanted to take a closer look at how some of the most innovative companies and brilliant minds think about the future of work. Not just the binary questions of “remote work” vs. “office work,” but the wider spectrum of what’s possible and why it matters.

How can we work better and smarter in the decades to come—and what’s the moral imperative driving our desire to change? How can we build a more inclusive world, in which everyone has an opportunity to shine?

Join us as we explore these questions. Listen to the trailer below, then read more about my first episode, a conversation with Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel about the global opportunity for flexible work. Subscribe to Distributed on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen.

Illustration by Lily Padula.

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