Blog Culture Why we believe all-remote is for everyone
August 15, 2019
5 min read

Why we believe all-remote is for everyone

Darren Murph, leading GitLab's all-remote initiatives, shares why the future of work can be embraced today.


We're committed to all-remote work at GitLab – our whole work philosophy is designed around it. I joined GitLab to lead our all-remote initiatives – here's a bit about my background and why I'm excited to join the team.

A pivotal moment in how society looks at remote work

GitLab is known by many as an open core company which develops software for the software development lifecycle. What I want the world to know is that it’s also a pioneer in remote work, building a transparent, empowered workforce of over 800 team members across 57+ countries. You read that correctly. Over 800 of us, none of whom are required to work from a central office, are making GitLab one of the world’s largest all remote companies.

I was recently given the honor of joining GitLab to lead its all remote initiatives. The company’s remarkable growth and impact on the world is well documented, but as I’ve engaged with team members – as well as pets and families in the background! – I’m beginning to understand that we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible.

Embracing the remote lifestyle in Alabama Hills, California Embracing the remote lifestyle in Alabama Hills, California

I believe we’re nearing a sea change in how we work. It’s easy to point to stratospheric rent prices in major urban centers, soul-crushing gridlock, and shifting mindsets in what society values in a career as reasons for turning to remote work.

But I think it’s deeper than that. We yearn to explore, and work doesn't have to stand in the way.

Positive change is possible as all-remote becomes the default for many companies

The internet has never been faster nor more ubiquitous. Computing power has never been more accessible. It’s time for organizations large and small to embrace these realities, to open their recruiting pipelines to the world, to divert real estate budget to R&D and to recognize that we’re all better workers when we’re given the space to feel truly alive.

More importantly, the communities that matter to each of us have never needed our presence more. Working remotely gives each person the autonomy to serve in a place that matters to them – a place that has shaped them – contributing significantly to the wellbeing of a population that may be at risk of losing its foundation, should talent continue to flee to the usual job centers.

Research from the University of New Hampshire has found that "35% of rural counties in the United States are experiencing protracted and significant population loss." Speaking to shrinking towns across Europe, a 2016 report from the European Parliamentary Research Service notes that "younger members of society prefer to migrate to more economically vibrant regions and cities in search of better job prospects as, in most of these territories, professional opportunities remain limited and confined to specific fields (e.g. agriculture and tourism)." I believe all-remote has the power to pause, and perhaps even reverse, these trends of depopulation.

Remote work can have outsized positive impact in cities like Accra Remote work can have outsized positive impact in cities like Accra

What would traffic in London, Moscow, Mexico City, and Rome look like if every person who could work remotely, did? What talent might we surface by tapping into burgeoning tech hubs in cities like Accra or Lagos? How many San Franciscans – locals who have been priced out of their own city – could move back if some of the world’s greatest technical minds were empowered to work from anywhere? What would underserved communities in rural regions across the globe be capable of if well-paying jobs came their way via the internet?

I don’t ask these questions hypothetically. I ask them because I want to leverage GitLab’s platform to change the narrative on work, and I fully expect that we’ll see those answers in my lifetime. It doesn’t hurt that GitLab (the product) is tailor-made to enable remote work, even across large teams.

Creating more remote opportunities for others

I’ve had the great privilege of working remotely my entire career. I’ve shared memories with my family in over 50 countries and have celebrated milestones with colleagues whilst flying over a million miles on a single airline (thank you, Delta!).

My wife and I experienced the beautiful and transformative journey of adoption because I worked for an employer that trusted me to excel from a place I needed to be to see it through. I’ve met countless GitLabbers who have never been happier, more fulfilled, or more engaged with their family and community, all because they’re empowered to work remotely.

Remote work encourages exploration of both locales and cultures Remote work encourages exploration of both locales and cultures

I share this because I realize I’m one of the fortunate few, and I long for countless others to have these same opportunities. GitLab is positioned to be of service to everyone – from startups, to entrepreneurs, to the world’s largest enterprises – in creating a remote infrastructure that works. I couldn’t be more excited to help enable precisely that.

If you're new to the concept of all-remote, I'd encourage you to dive into our Handbook and learn how it works at GitLab.

If you're ready to embrace the freedoms enabled by all-remote, browse our vacancies and join me on this journey!

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