On Tuesday, October 22, Scott Berkun, author of The Year Without Pants, discussed his book and his time at WordPress with a small group of University Scholars. He was wearing pants for the discussion – jeans, to be specific.
He started with a brief presentation of what his job entailed at WordPress. Scott worked remotely while at WordPress, hence his ability to not have to wear pants while working. Everyone on his team worked on his or her own time, other than occasional meetings that were often conducted online. He said there were a few times that he met up with a few members of his team at various locations across the globe. By mostly communicating and working online, employees could make their own schedules, working as much or as little as it took to complete assigned projects.
Scott loved his time at WordPress; however, most Americans do not feel the same about their work. He showed us some statistics that showed 71% of Americans are not engaged or are actively disengaged in their work. Why? Scott explored some possibilities. “Is the 9 to 5 really always necessary?” he asked. Everyone sits in the same rush hour traffic and is forced to stay at work until the end of the shift, even if they finish their work early. Scott challenged the traditional idea of a job by suggesting that working remotely may be the way of the future.
At the end, we discussed and asked questions about the ideas he brought up. I think I can speak for all of us that we enjoyed the active discussion, and one question led to another. He admitted although it was tough to leave WordPress, his true passion is writing. We explored why we thought workers were disengaged and the logistics of having more jobs with the ability to work remotely.
Moving forward after his discussion with us, I think the most valuable things we can think about moving forward are further exploring worker’s discontent and new avenues, like working remotely, that could remedy this. Is it wages? The 9-to-5 grind? How can we make the world a better place by innovating how we work?
by Cayman MacDonald, Political Science/International Affairs, University Scholar from North Palm Beach, Florida