English is not my first language, so I'm in a bit of trouble with the idiomatic meaning of this phrase: "All Web Developers must work out of our Atlanta Headquarters" .Does it mean that the developers must work at the Atlanta Headquarters, or very close to it, or very close to it but definitely outside, or outside and anywhere in the world (i.e., literal meaning)?

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    I'd say it's ambiguous. It may mean physical presence is required in Atlanta, or it may mean you simply report to people in Atlanta. (If your physical presence were required one might have expected them to state that you must "work at" or work in" the Atlanta HQ, but neither English nor the people using it are usually that reliably precise.)
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 14, 2014 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


To "work out of somewhere" means that you are based somewhere. At one time it was usually used of someone whose work involved travelling. A salesman might "work out of New York", meaning they were based in New York, even though their actual time was mostly spent on the road (and therefore not in New York at all). His office-bound colleague would be said to "work in New York". In more recent times 'work out of' used as a synonym of "work in".

The phrase you ask about therefore strictly means that the job is based in Atlanta, that they will report to someone in Atlanta, and they will be paid in Atlanta. However in reality it probably means you need to be present in Atlanta. The phraseology might open the door a crack to the possibility of telecommuting or remote working.

  • My two cents : this phrase is common in the Indian IT industry. Example - Someone is working out of the Atlanta or Bangalore office temporarily. I even suspected this was an Indian English usage and I googled for it. Good to know that it is used in other places as well. Makes it easy to communicate to teams on the "other side".
    – MediumOne
    May 27, 2016 at 15:45

Yes, the phrase above does mean that the employees are required to be present at the Alanta headquarters, all work will be performed at that establishment and all the correspondence regarding your work shall be addressed to Atlanta headquarters.

  • 5
    "All work will be performed at that establishment". It doesn't mandate that absolutely and explicitly, although it will often be true. It means the HQ is their base, but a salesman who travels to visit customers across the region could still be said to "work out of" the HQ if s/he was based there. Developers with pre-sales or other customer facing responsibilities might say the same. In this case and context, they probably work entirely at the HQ. But that's not the strict meaning of the phrase by itself.
    – itsbruce
    Oct 14, 2014 at 15:29
  • Yes that is true although I answered for if only web developers were required at headquarters. Oct 14, 2014 at 15:32
  • Even in the IT industry, many jobs involve visiting customers: to hold meetings, conduct training, install software or hardware on-site, find faults, or perform business process analysis. Although I suspect some employers just like the sound of the phrase "work out of" and prefer it to "work in" or something more accurate.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 28, 2021 at 7:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.