Via the great folks at Copyblogger, Scott Burkun has a great post about his new book, The Year Without Pants, WordPress.com and the Future of Work.
The fact that this is not new information is a good sign. Work has been moving in this direction for some time. It’s no longer a fad. The new work is not like the old work, and that is good. More freedom, more responsibility, more being able to be a grown up and control your work experience and life.
On being treated like an adult:
A recent Gallup Poll of American workers found that 70% of workers aren’t engaged at work. This is a disaster.
It means 3 of 4 of you reading this (at least in the U.S.) have jobs you do not care for. And the reasons you don’t care are reasonable: most employees are treated like children. Bureaucracies, rulebooks, protocols and processes all presume that the rule maker has the hard job, but we know that’s rarely true.
At WordPress.com team managers see their jobs as facilitators, not dictators. People are hired for their talents and the job of management is to stay out of talent’s way and guide it when needed.
On where you work does not matter, really:
All 170 employees at Automattic work from anywhere in the world they wish. They’re in more than 40 countries and nearly every time zone. Some people join the company and then travel the world while working.
This fact typically blows people’s minds, but it shouldn’t.
The typical office worker spends much of their time interacting with coworkers via email, the web and the phone. It’s mostly mediated through screens and machines. If that’s the case, why does location matter?
We complain about how painfully stupid most in-person meetings are, yet we oddly resist their elimination. Provided the results are great, why should anyone care where someone works from? They shouldn’t.
On how you must try new things, and even fail, to improve and innovate:
Many people talk about wanting big ideas, but it’s rare that talk is matched with action.
The grand frustration in the working world is stasis. Even if you don’t think what WordPress.com does can work for you, you must respect their willingness to experiment. The fact that they hired me, a veteran big company manager, shows their willingness to mix things up and learn from the results.
The history of all innovation makes clear it’s only through trying something new that progress happens. No one can talk their way to progress: we have to step off the stupid — but crowded — path called status quo and experience change.
Isn’t that what our leaders are supposed to be paid to do? If we should demand anything from managers, and perhaps from ourselves, it’s to take the first step, and learning from WordPress.com is an easy place to start.