Despite all of its advantages, all-remote work isn't for everyone. It can have disadvantages for potential employees depending on their lifestyle and work preferences, as well as the organization. In the spirit of transparency, we'll also highlight counterpoints and solutions to these challenges.
In the video above, GitLab Director of Technical Evangelism Priyanka Sharma discusses pros and cons of remote working with a panel of experts from TFiR, Arm and ISG Research.
All-remote is a work arrangement in which employees do not commute to a central place of work because there are no company-owned offices.
Remote-first typically means there is a physical workplace of some kind available to employees who need or prefer a traditional office space outside of the home. However, these spaces are not always company-owned, they could be a shared workspace, coffee shop, or public library.
Remote-first organizations optimize their company for remote by creating documentation, policies, and workflows that assume 100% of the organization is remote.
These companies work to ensure that offices are simply venues to work remotely from, and are not the epicenter of power or culture.
Onboarding can be difficult when you're remote, because it involves more self-learning and you're not physically with your new coworkers and fellow new hires.
Learn more about how GitLab onboards its all-remote team members.
The first month in a remote role can feel lonely, especially if you're transitioning from a traditional office setting.
Remote settings can cause a breakdown in communication skills if organizations aren't deliberate about creating ways for their people to stay connected.
Some may find it difficult to work in the same setting as they live and sleep, because a dedicated workspace helps to switch the context from their home life to work.
Team members in different time zones may have to compromise on meeting times.
It can be hard to separate your personal and work life. It's important to encourage boundaries and make sure you don't continue to work during your family time.
Remote work requires you to manage your own time and be self-motivated, disciplined, and organized.
In the video above, GitLab co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij discusses some of the organizational challenges involved in building and sustaining an all-remote company.
Because it's non-traditional, all-remote work sometimes concerns investors, partners, and customers.
"In the beginning they assess your team, then they assess your product, and then they assess your financials. When it comes to the team, [investors are] super skeptical they will be able to create something with all-remote. Then when it’s about the product they say, ‘Yes, maybe, but what about scaling?’ And then when it’s about the financials you can let the numbers speak for themselves so it’s less of a concern. — GitLab co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij
Differences in currency as well as tax, immigration, and labor laws around the world can create compliance challenges for the organization.
You have to be more intentional about cultivating, sustaining, and documenting your company culture.
Despite its many advantages, all-remote work can present new challenges for teams.
A remote role can feel lonely, especially if you're transitioning from a traditional office setting.
If teams aren't intentional about creating ways for their people to stay connected, remote settings can cause communication breakdowns.
It's not easy to separate work and personal life when working remote. It's important to model and encourage boundaries.
An all-remote job will best suit self-motivated people. Some of the top optimizers of remote work are:
Whether you're new to working remotely or have done it before, you can explore the detailed version of our 5 tips for successful remote working:
From the cost savings on office space to more flexibility in employees' daily lives, all-remote work offers a number of advantages to organizations and their people.
"Remote is not a challenge to overcome. It's a clear business advantage." -Victor, Product Manager, GitLab
You can view our complete guide to the benefits of all-remote here.
Return to the main all-remote page.