Saturday Feb 04, 2023

Hybrid Horticulture: How Austin Tech Is Nurturing Remote and In-person Work – Built In Austin


Self-sustaining terrariums are a masterclass in social responsibility. Lemon button fern, dwarf arrowhead and golden pothos encased in glass, watered once and placed near a north-facing window will thrive — without human intervention — each element hard at work sustaining life. 

Much like symbiotic plants in a terrarium, humans thrive in the presence of collective responsibility. A study published in The Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal suggests that employees, provided communal responsibility and autonomy, will demonstrate higher productivity than their micromanaged counterparts.   

This knowledge has made it easy for forward-thinking tech companies to invite employees to work in their vivarium of choice. When Built In sat down with five Austin tech leaders, it was clear that the future of work lies in an autonomy-first approach to growing the hybrid workplace. 

ePayPolicy Director of People Operations Allyson Hoffman called it an efficiency-first approach: “By placing efficiency first, we honor that there are weeks where personal matters don’t allow for much in-person collaboration — and that there are just times where being remote is better for mental health.”

“We have created a work environment that puts the responsibility into the hands of the employee,” Pushnami CEO Emerson Smith said.

In a choose-your-own-workspace model, how can leadership select the right employees to support their company ecosystem? 

“We want folks whose first thought is: ‘How can I support and help my team succeed?’” said NinjaOne CRO Dean Yeck

Whether it’s glass jars or glass offices, the vessel of the terrarium doesn’t matter — only that each element is equipped to tackle its respective duties. For these five Austin tech leaders, what matters most is that their employees are empowered to bloom where they wish.  


Annette Alexander

Chief People Officer


WP Engine is a software company committed to open source and exceptional customer service to the WordPress community. 


Would you describe your current work model as “remote-first,” “office-occasional” or “office-first?”



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