Because we’re a distributed company, we often have to hop on a plane and meet up somewhere in the world to see one another face to face. This is a great perk—not only do you get to connect with your co-workers in person, you also get to experience the world outside your hometown. At Automattic, Meetups are divided into four separate categories:
Division Meetups (DMs):
About every 12-18 months, an entire division will get together for a week to work on projects, collaborate across teams, and attend fun in-person activities. These meetups are primarily planned by the Meet team and typically include entire business units.
Mega-Meetups occur when teams with more than 20 individuals would like to meet in-person. Mega-meetups often include cross-functional members, combined teams, or one very large team. Frequency is dependent on team leadership and planning is supported by the Meet Team, though HR approval is needed before the planning stage begins.
Immediate teams with less than 20 individuals typically meet 1-2 times per year. Length of the meetup ranges anywhere from a few days to a week. Team meetups promote team bonding and provide time to discuss future goals and projects. While these meetups are primarily planned by the teams themselves, the Meet Team is always available to answer questions and offer support.
Grand Meetup (GM):
Historically at Automattic, the entire company would get together for a week somewhere in the world to work on projects, classes, shared meals, and hang out. Welcomemattic was the result of a 2012 grand meetup project In 2014 and 2015, we met in Park City, Utah for a week. In 2016 and 2017, we met in Whistler, Canada for another great week with colleagues from around the world. In 2018 and 2019, we went to Orlando, Florida.
In recent years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as significant growth across the company, we have put a hold on the Grand Meetup. This does not mean they are out of the realm of possibility forever!
For some great examples of Division, Mega, and Team Meetups, check out the Meetomattic P2. For more information on how the Meet Team supports meetups and meetup planning, check out the Meet P2 or #ask-meet on slack!
Larger WordCamps like WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe tend to be attended by Automatticians in those regions, which makes them a great place to meet fellow Automatticians and community members. We encourage people to get to know their local WordPress groups and help with WordCamps hosted nearby. Learn more about WordCamps.
Travel can be booked on your own using your credit card or through Egencia.
Egencia is a tool that you can use for travel arrangements. A member of the HR team will set up an account for you when you get an @automattic.com email address. Through Egencia, you can reserve your own flight, hotel, car, etc., when you need to travel to WordCamps and other work-related events. Check with your team lead before booking travel. As long as your booking is “in policy” (generally economy class, lower price), you can book it in one step through Egencia.
If you book through Egencia, Automattic pays for your travel up front, so you don’t have to go out of pocket and get reimbursed later. If you find travel arrangements cheaper than the prices on Egencia, you can save the company some dough by booking on your own. You may prefer to pay for travel on your own credit card to earn points. That’s fine, too. After you’ve booked travel, submit an expense report for reimbursement in Expensify.
Please note, we do not recommend using discount travel consolidators (Hotwire, Priceline, etc). You may get a cheaper price; however, if travel plans go awry (missed connection, delayed flight), they do not provide great customer service. If you choose to use one of these services, we will not reimburse you for a new flight/hotel/car rental if you do not like the options they provide.
For trip expenses like taxis, food, etc., please keep your receipts and submit an expense report via Expensify. Read through our Expense Guidelines and also how to submit an Expense Report for reimbursement.
While our working style supports us working everywhere, you should always be aware of the legal work authorization you need to not get yourself into trouble, especially in the US and the other countries where we have legal entities. You can read this good summarized post from Lori, as well as review this page about Visas for information