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We grabbed five with James Frost, Mobile Wrangler at Automattic, to talk about his role as part of a distributed enterprise and choosing to work from a coworking environment.

What is Automattic?

Automattic is the company behind, Jetpack, and WooCommerce (amongst many others). The thing that makes us somewhat unique is that the entire company is distributed – there are no offices, and everybody is free to work from wherever they like, whether that’s their own home, a coworking space like Origin Workspace, or being nomadic and working from a different city each week. We have over 900 employees in 69 countries around the world.

What does your day-to-day role involve?

I’m a lead for a team of developers in our mobile division. We work on the WordPress app for mobile devices, both on iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android, which allows anybody to administer their website, write posts, upload media, check their notifications, and more. I have a lot of different responsibilities as a team lead, from managing our projects, helping my team be as productive as they can be, and communicating a lot both inside and outside of our team. Communication really is the oxygen of a distributed company, so a lot of my day is spent on Slack, writing and reading posts on our internal blogs, or in video calls.

What’s the best thing about working in Bristol?

Can I say it’s all the great lunch options?? Otherwise, there are just so many great folks to meet here, working on interesting things!

Why did Automattic chose co-working over leasing its own offices?

Our CEO, Matt Mullenweg (the co-creator of WordPress) feels that being distributed is the most effective way to build a company. While talent and intelligence are equally distributed around the world, opportunity is not. Being distributed allows us to work with great people, no matter where they live, and everybody is in control of their own schedule and workspace. For me, spending a couple of days a week in a co-working space is a great way to reset and get some focussed work time in away from home.

Why did you choose Origin Workspace?

The new offices looked like they’d be a great place to work, and it was also more cost effective than other options I looked at. I also really like the wellness focus and sense of community at the workspace.

How do you keep a healthy work/life balance?

I think one really important thing when working from home is to have a clear separation of ‘work’ space from personal space. I have my own small office at home, but getting out to an entirely separate space like Origin can be really helpful – particularly when you have two young kids at home!

How important is Origin’s ‘wellness’ ethos to you?

I really appreciate Origin’s wellness ethos, and I think it’s a really valuable thing to promote. I haven’t actually got to attend any wellness events yet simply due to the timing of my workday, but I feel like there’s a great sense of community around these things.

If you’re interested in exploring the coworking options available at Origin Workspace, get in touch to book a tour of the facility.

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