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.
Remote settings can cause a breakdown in communication skills if organizations aren't deliberate about creating ways for their people to stay connected.
- All-remote companies should default to asynchronous communication to combat feelings of being left out of important discussions.
- We welcome all-remote companies to glean from GitLab's approach to meetings, as well as our scheduled AMAs, group conversations, and key meetings that are open to all.
Team members in different time zones may have to compromise on meeting times.
All-remote companies should consider meetings as a last resort, instead relying on asynchronous collaboration tools like Google Docs and GitLab Issues to facilitate meaningful dialog without time zone concerns.
To prevent pent-up frustration over working odd hours to facilitate a global call, all-remote companies should consider treating each team member as a manager of one. This goes beyond the basic definition of flexibility by empowering team members to structure each day according to the needs at hand. For example, spending more time with family earlier in the day to compensate for a late-night work call.
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.
Screening employees for these attributes is fairly easy during the interview process. Even if a prospective team member has yet to work in a remote setting, asking for examples of their mindset and performance while working from home, an event, or while traveling can provide valuable insight.
"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.