Conferences & events

As part of your role at Human Made, you may be expected to travel to events and conferences. If you are unsure about whether you should be travelling check with your manager or the people team. Reasons for travel include:

Human Made wants to support you to go to conferences & events throughout the year. There are different events that you will have the opportunity to go to, which have different expectations in terms of time and budget. The events considered here are external events, which are dealt with differently to internal events such as the retreat and team meetups.

As a general rule, you should be discussing your event attendance with your manager.

Events you attend on behalf of the company

There are some events you may be asked to go to as part of your role. These include:

  • meeting clients (workshops, on-sites, etc)
  • pitching to clients
  • events that are clearly tied to business goals such as business development, sales, marketing, and hiring

As these are business events, there is a set of expectations that apply to them:

  • that you can stay in a 3-4 star hotel if you choose to (though if you would prefer to stay in an Airbnb that’s also fine)
  • that money will be available to spend on entertaining clients, leads, potential hires, partners, and freelancers. A rough budget should be agreed in advance with the person responsible for the business trip.
  • if you have to travel or work at the weekend, that you take lieu days to cover the number of additional days worked. Note that if you are working longer days because you are away for work, this is not accrued as lieu but should be factored in as part of your flexible working. For example, if you are out with a client one evening, this wouldn’t be “banked” but you should work shorter hours at some point in the next few days to make it up. 

Normally these types of events should be discussed with your project team and department, and a budget should be agreed upon and posted to the expenses backlog.

Events for professional development

Events for professional development are covered in our professional development policy, and the guidance and expectations are outlined on that page.

Attending community events and WordCamps for other reasons

As a company we want to support your passion and enthusiasm for attending local and community events, however because attendance to these isn’t driven by a clear business need and isn’t for professional development purposes these have a different set of expectations and guidance. The reason for this is that the more we can keep costs down, the more people can attend these types of events. Events like this include WordCamps, meetups, and other community events.

There are the following expectations for travelling to WordCamps, meetups, and other events that fall into this category. We ask that:

  • You try to keep costs down, by booking budget accommodation, Airbnb, or by sharing accommodation like a flat or apartment.
  • You keep down on-the-ground expenses. Exceptions to this may be if you are taking out a group of contributors or other community members, but this should be pre-approved by your manager.
  • You do not take lieu time for these events. One of the biggest financial impacts of WordCamps is people taking days in lieu after and event. By not taking lieu time it helps us to be able to continue to support everyone to attend these events as the company grows.
  • If you are attending events like this during the week that you try to work flexibly whilst attending or make up some of that time over the weekend.
  • That you don’t spend in excess of £500 per financial year (1 April – 31 March) on these types of events.

Exception for Dedicated Open Source Contributors

The exception to the budget limit is people who have dedicated open source time or who hold leadership positions in the WordPress or other open source communities. If this is you, we ask that you don’t spend in excess of £2,500 per financial year, or if you need to, that this is discussed with your manager and signed off by finance. Note that event expenses in excess of £100 need to be added to the expenses backlog.

Taking on a lead role at an event

Lead roles at events can be very time consuming and involve significant work. Because of this, and before taking on a lead or volunteer role at an event, you must discuss how you plan to manage your time, usual work commitments, and wellbeing with your manager. Larger-scale commitments which represent a significant investment from the company (of time and/or money) will need to be signed off by the exec team.

WordCamps Europe, US, and Asia

The above guidance applies also to WordCamp US, WordCamp Europe, and WordCamp Asia, except that since these are often across a weekday and weekend you don’t necessarily need to make up time on the weekend. There are exceptions to this and they can be discussed with your manager. They include:

  • if you’ve not had the opportunity to meet up with a large group of other humans. For example, if you missed a retreat or you joined the company shortly after a retreat.
  • if there is a clear business reason for you to attend these events, including hiring, meeting clients, or working with a specific team.
  • If you do apply to speak, and are accepted, speaking alone isn’t a strong enough reason to spend in excess of the budgets listed above, so please do try to consider these other reasons when making a speaker application.

Meeting up

If you are attending any type of event and you can spend an extra few days co-working with other humans, we’d encourage you to do so. It is a really good opportunity to spend some time together, and Human Made is happy to stretch costs to facilitate that happening, providing there are efforts made to keep costs low. We do ask that you continue to do your day job while spending these extra days in person, though if you want to take a day of holiday to spend time together or enjoy the city, you’re welcome to do so.


Why can’t I take lieu time for WordCamps & other community events?

One of the biggest costs to people going to events is lieu time taken around them. The higher those costs are, the less we will be able to pay for people to go to the events that they want to go to. We want to support you to participate in the community and go to the events to which you want to go, but unless there is a clear need for you to go as part of your role, it is difficult to justify time off in addition to covering the costs of your expenses. We would prefer to be able to contribute to events like this rather than curtailing support altogether, and sharing the financial and time burden allows the company to do this sustainably.

Why is there a budget of £500 for my travel to community events and WordCamps?

We want to enable everyone in the company to attend your local events and those which are semi-local. By setting a budget, this ensures a fair distribution of the money allocated to that across the company. As with all of our policies, there may be exceptions but these should be discussed and agreed upon with your manager and department lead.

Does my community budget need to be used for entertaining?

You do not need to spend your community budget for entertaining community members. This will come out of our advertising and marketing budgets. If you are expecting to spend a lot at one event it is worth flagging with Tom ahead of time.

Why do people with open source time or who are community leaders have a higher allowance to attend community events?

Without exception, everyone who is in a leadership role in the WordPress community has put a heavy investment of their own time into building their profile and growing into a leadership role. It takes a lot of work as a volunteer to be someone who is a leader in the open source community. Often this was done prior to them joining the company, and they got there without Human Made’s support; at the same time, Human Made benefits from their profiles and it raises the company’s overall reputation. Therefore, we want to support these people to attend community events in order to support and continue to contribute to the community.

What if I have to travel to a community event on a Friday and a Monday?

If you are in transit on a Friday and a Monday when you would normally be working, we ask that you work flexibly on these days. Ways that you could approach this are working in the morning before a flight, or in the afternoon when you arrive. This will help to minimise the impact of you being away.

Why isn’t speaking at WordCamp Europe or WordCamp US in itself a compelling enough reason alone to go?

We usually have a strong contingent of speakers at these large WordCamps, and it’s very valuable to Human Made to be present on stage to represent the company. If you are speaking to further a business goal of the company, then it makes sense for you to speak. However, if you are speaking as a means of attending the event, then it is difficult to justify your attendance, especially if you are travelling intercontinentally and there are people locally who could speak. Therefore we ask that there is a reason in addition to speaking, which may include community involvement, marketing or sales, a client meeting, working with other humans, or hiring. You do not need to be part of the marketing, hiring, or sales teams, for example, to make this justification, but you should be working with those teams to set clear goals.

Are there exceptions to any of these guidelines?

Yes. The guidelines are not intended to be exhaustive and there will always be cases that fall outside them. If you feel that you are one of these exceptions talk first with your manager to discuss whether it makes sense, then ask Tom, Joe, or Noel for sign-off. If it has been signed off by a partner, then it should be opened on the expenses backlog.