Not all forms of remote work are created equal. While hybrid may appear to offer the best of both worlds on the surface, many leaders underestimate its complexities and embedded inequality. On this page, we'll compare and contrast benefits available to all-remote leaders and team members with those available in a hybrid-remote setting.
This page is designed to clarify the differences in workplace experience by individuals who are remote by default in an all-remote setting vs. a hybrid-remote setting. This page is not designed to compare the in-person experience with the remote experience within a hybrid-remote organization.
It is becoming more common for job seekers to weigh mutiple competing offers. Understanding the nuanced differences in operating within a single-tier environment (all-remote) vs. a multi-tier environment (hybrid-remote) is critical for expectation alignment. Be careful to not assume that all remote offers are equal, thereby simplifying job selection to metrics such as compensation and job title. The job selection process is intensely personal, and this guide intends to help those in the process put a more meaningful value on all-remote benefits (and conversely, arm candidates with data if negotiating a higher salary to compensate for the inbuilt dysfunction and inequity present in many hybrid environments).
For the purpose of this compare and contrast exercise, we define hybrid-remote as an environment where optionality and flexibility is limited. The moment you force a subset of people back into the office, with another subset that is always remote, you have two playing fields to administrate. This two-tier arrangement is extremely difficult to administrate and is unequal by design.
Those who are never remote will default to working office-first (e.g. using a physical whiteboard that cannot support remote contribution) and those who are never in the office will miss out on non-transparent work conversations and promotion opportunities.
For deeper dives on this topic, read our guides below.
|Non-linear workday||Yes, for roles which allow||No; fixed to office schedule of colleagues|
|Ability to relocate for personal reasons||Yes||Limited|
|Ability to optimize location for something other than a commutable distance to an office||Yes||Limited|
|Avoid physiological stress of open-plan offices||Yes||Depends|
|Equal footing by default on access to executives and senior leaders||Yes||No|
|Praise and promotion based on work output vs. "face time" with the right people||Yes||No|
|IT/support applied to everyone equally||Yes||No|
|All team members use digital tools to work, collaborate, and communicate||Yes||No|
|Freedom from manually chasing information shared during siloed, in-person meetings||Yes||No|
|Freedom from "FOMO" — the fear of missing out on in-person perks, meetings, social gatherings, etc.||Yes||No|
|Travel burden for in-person culture and rapport building is on the company, not the individual||Yes||Depends|
|Freedom from managing guilt (e.g. you don't commute; your colleagues do)||Yes||No|
|Freedom from justyfing one's remote work arrangement to managers who aren't naturally supportive of flexibility||Yes||No|
|Freedom from demands for overperformance by in-office colleagues||Yes||No|
|Freedom from concerns of being overlooked, forgotten, or dehumanized by in-office managers||Yes||No|
|Freedom (and likely reimbursement) to work in a "third space" (e.g. coworking center, Codi, coffee shop, etc.)||Yes||Depends|
|Freedom from subpar hybrid videocalls where select participants are huddled in a physical room on one camera||Yes||No|
|Equal footing in job interviews (e.g. no advantage/disadvantage from in-person interviews)||Yes||No|
|Learning and development is applicable to all team members, regardless of location||Yes||No|
|Career growth is not dependent on willingness/ability to transfer to in-person by default||Yes||No|
|Freedom from last-minute demands to fly to an office for an in-person meeting||Yes||No|
|Business operations team is fully focused on upleveling tools and technology which positively impact all team members (vs. catering to one subset over another)||Yes||No|
|Freedom from being transferred to a manager or department who is in-person and/or isn't supportive of remote arrangements||Yes||No|
|Electic mix of company-wide in-person gatherings (vs. congregating at a standard office)||Yes||No|
|Hearing about watercooler chitchat and perpetual cubical drop-ins from your in-office colleagues||No||Yes|
Remote Experiencefilter in reviews, you are able to sort by
COVID-19 Related. This filter increases the chances of reading reviews relevant to one's remote work experience at an organization. It's also helpful to search for
remotewithin an organization's Review section. Glassdoor also offers remote-related content on its blog.
GitLab is one of the world's largest all-remote companies. We are 100% remote, with no company-owned offices anywhere on the planet. We have over 1,300 team members in more than 65 countries. The primary contributor to this article (Darren Murph, GitLab's Head of Remote) has over 15 years of experience working in and reporting on colocated companies, hybrid-remote companies, and all-remote companies of various scale.
Just as it is valid to ask if GitLab's product is any good, we want to be transparent about our expertise in the field of remote work.
GitLab built a comprehensive course on remote work leadership which is hosted on a leading online learning platform, Coursera. The course, titled “How to Manage a Remote Team,” provides a holistic, in-depth analysis of remote team structures, phases of adaptation, and best practices for managers, leaders, and human resources professionals. It is offered free of charge, with an optional certificate available for $49.
This course is ideal for current managers, executives, and human resources professionals who want to learn how to lead and support a high-functioning, scalable remote team. GitLab is one of the world’s largest all-remote organizations; experts from throughout the company will guide you through in-depth lessons for leaders, people managers, and HR professionals to build, manage, and scale.
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
For the final project in this course, you will create a real or hypothetical strategic plan to transition a team to remote operation. You will assess your organization's remote maturity and infrastructure, and identify the best team structure for remote operation — including determining whether to use an all-remote or remote-friendly model. You'll outline plans for documentation, education, leadership, and equipment or resource needs for your unique organization.
This is an intermediate-level course, intended for learners who have previous experience managing or leading people. To succeed in this course, you should have at least one year of management experience. No remote experience is required.
GitLab believes that all-remote is the future of work, and remote companies have a shared responsibility to show the way for other organizations who are embracing it. If you or your company has an experience that would benefit the greater world, consider creating a merge request and adding a contribution to this page.
Return to the main all-remote page.