On Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 10:07 PM, Aleksey Bilogur
A logistical non-starter! They've got 200+ staff
members, any gains to
recruitment competitiveness will be quickly lost to the drain that losing
whatever significant percent of the staff that doesn't make the move incurs
on the organization.
I don't think it's that clear-cut.
A large part of the Product & Engineering staff is already working remotely, so
they wouldn't be affected by the change. Many SF-based staffers also work
remotely some of the time, and there are constant efforts being made to make
the organization more remote-friendly; it wouldn't be a stretch to become a
remote-first organization, to split to smaller offices, to relocate entirely, or
all of the above.
Some WMF employees followed the WMF from St Petersburg, FL to San Francisco
during the 2007 relocation. I expect that this would also happen to some
extent if the WMF were to relocate and/or split to smaller distributed offices.
San Francisco isn't just expensive for the WMF; it's expensive for employees
as well, and some of them may find it beneficial to move to a less expensive
area, especially as they start families.
In addition to the insanely high cost of living in the San Francisco area,
there are other reasons that make relocation a viable long-term solution. The
main that come to mind are geological instability (the bay area /will/ be
struck by major earthquakes in the medium term) and ecological conditions
(i.e. the multi-year drought and its anticipated socio-ecological
consequences). Planning for continuity means taking these concerns into
account in any medium- and long-term strategy thinking.
As Oliver mentioned, an East-coast office could make sense in this context.
Technical staff is somewhat distributed around the globe, but in contrast the
head (leadership) and backbone (finance, admin and HR) of the WMF is
concentrated in the San Francisco office. In the current situation, it would
take months or years to recover from a major disaster. Transitioning to
several (2+) smaller, distributed offices would make the organization a lot more
resilient, geographically and functionally.
All this to say: it is possible, even probably desirable, for the WMF to
consider relocating out of the Bay Area in the long term (in whole or in
part), so entertaining the idea is a valid train of thought.
Guillaume Paumier (volunteer capacity)
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