5 Ideas About the Future of Work from WordPress.com

5 Ideas About the Future of Work from WordPress.com

Reader Comments (46)

  1. Scott, nice write up, and nice sample chapter.

    I’m going to ensure I get the book before the end of today.

    Well, I have not really had the opportunity to work for anybody (but I’ve worked for an SEO firm–sometime last year), and I must say it was a great expereince

    I worked without pressure, and the beautiful thing is, the more I worked, the more I earned.

    So, I don’t think I’ve had any challenge with work in the last 5 years…

    Thanks again bro!

    Daniel, ”the web content writer

  2. Great insight! For the last 5.5 years I have been working freelance and loving it, probably for some of the reasons your article suggest. Wouldn’t it be great if more organisations trusted and empowered their employees!

  3. We are actually in the phase of thinking to expand in the next 6 months. So point number 4 ” Hire By Trial” is an excellent idea. This way i can see if they can do they job and evaluate potential hire’s by efficiency, skill, talent, e.t.c..

    Nice post Scott, will check out your book. 🙂

    • The “hire by trial” idea is one that I have suggested in interviews to potential employers – and it always works out for the best.

      At first, I received some push back – in the form of “why should we hire you on a trial basis, when we could hire someone full-time that really wants the job.” I wasn’t sorry to say that I would never claim to “really want something” that I had only a vague idea of. Job descriptions and interviews rarely do a job position justice.

      Good luck with hiring – a trial might not always work out, but then you know for sure it’s for the best.

    • My understanding of standardized HR practices is that all newly hired employees are subject to a 90-day probationary period during which they can be dismissed for cause. This is one reason for the 90-day waiting period for company-paid health insurance and other benefits. This is the way its been done for decades.

      Is “Hire by Trial” something new and different? Does it mean the company hires them on a temporary contract or freelance basis? And the interview is bypassed completely?

      I’ve never paid much attention to interview techniques anyway. They’re forced and unnatural–plain silly, if you ask me. I sit down with the poor fish and we have a nice chat with no agenda as I casually thumb through the portfolio, exhorting praise or explaining what I would have done differently. Very civilized. I’ve found that an applicant reveals much more of his experience and world-view when the interview is conversational rather than confrontational.

      In the past–on rare occasions, not routinely–I’ve booked an applicant as a freelancer when he or she appears to have strong abilities in one area, but not so much experience in another. It gives him or her a chance to test the waters, so to speak; and it gives me a chance to evaluate them in real-world situations. (Each time I’ve tried this, the applicant performed beautifully and was hired.)

      This might be easier to get through Human Resources in an established company than your proposal.

  4. Hi Scott,

    I really love the concept of “tele-working”, however most big companies in my country (Spain), and I guess all over the world, use that concept to appear “modern” and cool. Then, the reality is that time on the seat is what matter most for them.

    Is the book going to be translated into spanish?

    Good luck!!!

  5. Awesome concept and a really great write up, Scott.
    The 4th point is a really nice point and should be applied at all the work places to get deserving and hard working employees.

  6. I can’t tell you how much this sounds like working for Copyblogger. I get the question “How does the management manage all those people?” (almost all employees are remote), the question is you don’t. Everyone was recruited by trial and demonstrated the drive and initiative to work on their alone. You don’t have to hold their hand. They are not going to drop the ball.

    • I agree Demian, it is time that management hire competent, self-driven people who do not need “management”. And what about those “bottom crawlers” at the office? They constantly undermine the efforts of the employee that is self-driven, conscientious, industrious and NOT a bottom crawler. By bottom crawler i mean those employees that crawl up the bosses bottom 😉

  7. I love your points. I’ve been working from home since 2007 after graduating and taking care of my then sick husband. He too has transitioned to working full time from home.

    We live in the US, his boss lives in the UK and most of my husband’s colleagues are in Asia, Europe and US. In fact, they are all over the place.
    My clients are international also.

    The best part in all of this is that we’ve been living in our RV full time now for the past 13 months and our work has not been compromised. In fact, I think it’s better because we’re both living our dream life while doing our dream work.

    People need to be more aware that work isn’t always done in a brick and mortar environment or in a 9 to 5 (does that still exist?) time frame.
    When we are treated as adults and take our responsibilities seriously, we can create great things.
    Thanks for sharing your work experience with WordPress.

  8. One night, not long after losing my dad, I was feeding my grandson his bottle before putting him to bed for the night. I was in his room, it was dark, the sound machine was on, I was on sensory overload.

    As I rocked him and fed him his bottle, I looked down at him and thought: “If I die right now, he’ll grow up not knowing me.” I didn’t want that to happen.

    I grew up hearing stories about “Uncle Jack.” Mom and Dad talked so lovingly about him, but I never knew him. Already my grandson will grow up not knowing his great grandfather… I just didn’t want that to happen to me and him.

    So I started LessonsFromMyGrandson.com. I’m already a storyteller through videos, help professionals and business owners tell THEIR stories… but now I have a REAL important story to tell.

    So they’re lessons: For Life. For Business. For Fun! Like the first lesson a toddler learns: When You Fall Down: Get Up! How often do WE forget that lesson and sulk when things don’t go right?

    Now Beckett will always see us together, for we’ll all live forever “on the Internet.”

    And it’s amazing to me how many Boomers seem to resonate with the work I’ve created – they love the idea of doing something for my grandson using the talents I use in my business.

    Family – we SAY it’s the most important thing in the world but often don’t act that way. My WHY tells me that I must… and so I do.

    Charlie Seymour Jr

  9. Very informative and interesting article, Scott. Point 2 resonates with me: I typically have summers off, but this summer was asked to work and I countered with offering to work from home. Everything I do is on the screen. But my very non-tech manager insisted that I had to physically come into an empty office (I was the only one there) burn electricity to run lights and air, and the only person I ever saw was the janitorial staff. It was beyond ridiculous! I hope more and more companies implement the ideas at WordPress as they result in great productivity, employee morale and satisfaction. I am going to get your book!

  10. There are a lot of strong points mentioned here. I specifically like the location and hiring by trial. But what I love most is the point about experimentation. I mean it’s really hard to be out there making things happen without anything but your vision. Just recently, I’m starting to consider to just start things even if I’m not totally ready. It think there’s no such thing as fully ready.

    • Dave, I can tell you from experience that that is the ONLY way. Get the vision in your head as clear as you can and then just start.

  11. I can’t wait to read your book! After sitting in endless meetings, viewing crappy powerpoint presentations, enduring a culture of red-tape and only lip-service to change, I left an upper level position in education. This is where we need innovation the most but yet the industrial age mind-set remains.

  12. I would jump at the chance to work at WordPress for one year or even three to six months. 🙂

    I’ve been freelancing for the past five years, but when I worked for an organization, I would have appreciated more honesty. If my ideas were not welcomed, I would have rather been told up front. No problem. I could have shared them people at networking events. Or blogged about them.

    Also, I would have appreciated if management got out of the way. Sadly, egos and fears pop up in the work place. If a manager sees you succeeding or getting more involved with the company, their ego could whisper to them, “She’s going after your job. This can’t happen. Stop it, NOW!”

    Loved this post!

  13. Very interesting perspectives. These provide interesting thought pieces that i can share during my trainings with entrepreneurs who are struggling to find and get the right people onto their enterprises.

    Look forward to reading more along the same lines in your book!

  14. I’ve never worked a 9 to 5 job in my entire life so I know nothing about the workplace. All I know is that my girlfriend gets angry everyday when she has to go to work 😀

    So if she goes to work angry I don’t believe she’s adding any growth to the company. So you’re right things should change and after reading this I wouldn’t mind working for wordpress. I was blessed to find out about the internet lifestyle after college and grabbed it with both hands.

    Great post Scott , I totally agree that workers should be treated like adults and have fun for innovation.

  15. fascinating topic – I can’t wait to read this book.

    Most people I know who don’t work a typical 9-to-5 job are happier than the norm…maybe I should buy a copy of this book for my boss!

  16. Thanks Scott for this teaser content… It makes me want to hear more. So, I’ll be dropping on over to Amazon to pick up the Kindle edition.

    This is interesting, and it seems intuitive that working from anywhere would lead to a happy and productive workforce. When people are compensated for actual production rather than putting in time, productivity soars. At least that’s been my experience.

    It will be interesting to see how Yahoo’s reversal of this concept works out. Timely post since I saw that Matt Mullenweg posted today that wordpress.com has now surpassed yahoo.com in monthly visitors.

  17. Hi Scott, I enjoyed reading your post. Especially the part about hiring on trial.

    In Switzerland – my current country of residence – the law governing employment stipulates that during the first week of employment the employer may terminate the contract effective at the end of the next week, or during the first month, effective at the end of next month. Only after three months does the contract become real.

    This gives employers time to make up their mind, and at the same time ensures the terminated employee is paid to the end of the next period even though in most cases he or she will be invited to leave immediately.

    The system works well. Who knows, it may even (in part) explain why Switzerland keeps its ranking in global competitiveness.

    Overall I think if bosses are to treat workers as adults – presupposes they treat themselves like adults first. Specifically, that they accept responsibility for their decisions – including the responsibility for their hiring decisions, as well as the responsibility for the hiring tools and systems they’re using.

    My opinion being: Bosses who cannot learn how to attract, hire and keep great employees probably shouldn’t have been promoted to boss in the first place. And more likely than not, probably won’t be in business that much longer.

    Either way, thanks for a great post.

  18. Fantastic article! I could not agree more.

    I’m one of those crazy people who left the corporate world to pursue an alternative income. I started with writing, and that let me to be the IT Director of a company in which everyone lives in a different country! It’s a thrilling ride!

    We use Skype and Facebook (laugh if you will, but it works) as our main means of communication. We also use a variety of online tools for collaboration.

    No need for offices!

  19. I agree. In fact, I could have written this myself, and have, in various comment sections here and there, although not in a manner as well-organized and analytically as you have.

    I would stretch point number 2 even further to include the impact it may very well have on architecture and city planning, as well as shopping habits.

    As we abandon our corporate cubicles, there will be no need for the large centralized office buildings we flock to now. Suburban populations will no longer be clustered around office parks. I suspect that what we call the creative class–I don’t care for the term; it’s not really a class, and very often far from creative, however–will continue to migrate toward city centers, which will become more and more dense in sort of a black-hole caving-in-on-itself way, as suburban and exurban housing will become more defuse and spread even further out into the rural hinterlands.

    In this scenario regional malls and big-box retailers don’t make much sense. Smaller stores with well-edited selections would be a better fit. General Dollar, in my opinion, may have invented the store of the future.

  20. Great article, great sneak peak – thank you. I am definitely buying your book. You captured the spirit of what work should be all about – this spoke to my freelancing-entrepreneurial heart!

  21. Excellent article Scott. It baffles me how employers treat employees like some lower life form and then complain about their work. I think your 5 principles apply in any business and I have summarised your post, with links, on my own blog page. You can find that on my web site if you want to check it.

  22. Scott, thank you for this simple yet, eye-opening post. I’ve been a freelance writer for 5 years now and I absolutely love what I do (compared to working in a corporate setting). Somehow, at the office, it feels like you’re just a child being ordered around to work like a robot. At least, that is what it feels like for me and I really can’t stand it.

    When I became a freelance writer, I truly enjoyed the flexibility and the ability to manage my own time. But going back to your article, all your points are true. I’ve observed that most of my clients (even if I haven’t met them personally) treat me like an adult, like someone they can trust to know what to do. I’ve also observed that employers are more open-minded when it comes to the hiring process. What matters more is the skill and output of the writer aside from other factors.

    Because of all this, I’ll be sticking to this job for as long as I can. Hopefully, this post can motivate other freelance writers too.

  23. When starting my web design and mobile app development company my parents thought I was crazy to hire people all across the country and abroad. What they don’t realize is that it all matters about the team. If you find the right people for the right job you can pretty much sit back and watch it run. Having people on site just seems like you would be a slave master. Always getting mad when they weren’t working while at “work”. When in reality, as long as it gets done it shouldn’t matter what they are doing.

  24. I love this article. It succinctly states the truth that so many people inherently believe. We can’t really affect a change without rocking the boat in our big corporate jobs so we just act happy to have a paycheck.

  25. For the past 5 years (7 actually), I’ve been working for a small company with many layers of bureaucracy. I moved up in the company to my current position and for a time, I loved it. I loved it because I had more autonomy than I’d had before, I’d had the freedom to try new ideas, to be creative. That is slowly slipping away, and I’m finding that I want to do things my way. I don’t mind working hard to earn a living, but let me think, let me work, let me create. Right now, I follow rules, protocols, and spend a lot of time listening to people who have never done my job tell me how to do my job.

    If I can’t work for a company that will give me at least a little freedom to do what I do best, like WordPress seems to do, I’d rather work for myself. Retirement plans, health insurance, and paid holidays be damned.

    • I like that you actually took the time to properly respond to his question in this post about what you’ve been doing for the last 5 years. Totally forgot to mention anything relevant in my initial post.
      Hopefully those people you work with/for that are trying to tell you how to do your job will wise up and seek your experience and advise before they lose you!

  26. Great piece. This has to be the future of business and work. Where output is the measure, autonomy is the method, and trust is the culture. Innovation and creativity are the new currency now and those organisations able to recognise and cultivate them, I think, will be the ones that prosper.

  27. What an amazing read! And the timing…I just launched a series of posts about starting a blog. Cant wait to read more about your experiences. Definitely going to refer to your work in future posts since I’m no where near as experienced as you in the field.

  28. Some great insights. I think the first one is the most important. If you treat people like adults / professionals then they will act that way. If you are constantly looking over their shoulder and second guessing them, then they will act like children. Great managers are able to delegate and lead by example without humility.

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