On Working Remotely: An Automattic Reader


How does a distributed company — a group of people with shared business goals but spread out around the world, representing different cultures, family settings, and local health considerations — stick together during a major health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic?

We don’t intend to make it sound easy. And we are aware — from our families, our communities, the businesses we support, and our customers — that many, if not most companies cannot actually work 100 percent remotely because of the nature of their business.

For those who can transition to distributed work in the wake of this evolving crisis, we wanted to suggest ideas that might help colleagues work well together even when you’re no longer all sharing the same physical space.

We’re lucky that many Automatticians have shared advice and best practices based on their many years of working from home — and we’ve compiled some of these resources below to empower others to listen to and support their coworkers during a difficult and disruptive time.

  • Erin ‘Folletto’ Casali, Jetpack Head of Design, offers a detailed read on setting up your remote work strategy for companies and individuals. (Note: Notion listed Erin’s piece as one of the best remote work guides on its wiki.)
  • Cate Huston, who leads Automattic’s Developer Experience team, led a “Crash Course in Remote Management” webinar, presented with Vaya Consulting.
  • Lori McLeese, Global Head of Human Resources, shared distributed best practices in a Q&A with True Ventures.
  • Simon Ouderkirk, Jetpack Data Wrangler, focused on the value of connection in his post, “Phatic Communication, or Talk for the Sake of Talking.”
  • Beau Lebens, WooCommerce Engineering Lead, posted concepts and a snapshot of a day in the distributed work life.
  • Marcus Kazmierczak, a Special Projects Principal Engineer, wrote about the keys to effective asynchronous communication.
  • Aaron Douglas, the WordPress iOS App team lead, shared some thoughts on staying mindful during video calls.
  • James Huff, Happiness Engineer, published his recommendations from 10 years of working for Automattic.
  • Artur Piszek, who leads the Earn team, came up with a primer and four pillars for remote work.
  • Sara Rosso, Director of Marketing, wrote on the importance of remote meetups, especially when travel for in-real-life meetups is all but impossible. (Bonus from Sara: three essential skills.)
  • Cate Huston again, this time on fixing five common pain points of working at home. (Note: this post is email-gated.)
  • Jeff Pearce, WordPress.org Creative Technologist, shared about the importance of morning routines.
  • Sasha Stone, Happiness Engineer, focuses on optimizing distributed life for self-care.
  • Marjorie Asturias, Partnerships Wrangler, came up with five tips for working from home, which she shared on Fiverr’s blog.
  • Erin Casali again, this time with some timeless tips from 2015, on setting processes and choosing tools for collaboration.

Of course, from his first post on remote work to his most recent one reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic, to his Distributed podcast and beyond, founder and CEO Matt Mullenweg is a prominent voice on remote work and distributed culture. To send you off on a lighter note, Matt published his first “What’s In My Bag” post in 2014 and has done it again several times since.

We hope these resources are helpful to you during these trying times, and that you and everyone in your communities stay safe.

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