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GitLab's Guide to All-Remote

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GitLab is the world's largest all-remote company with over 1,200 team members located in more than 65 countries around the world.

On this page and subpages, we'll share what "all-remote" really means, how it works at GitLab, some tips and tricks for remote teams, and resources to learn more.

The Remote Manifesto

All-remote work promotes:

  1. Hiring and working from all over the world instead of from a central location.
  2. Flexible working hours over set working hours.
  3. Writing down and recording knowledge over verbal explanations.
  4. Written down processes over on-the-job training.
  5. Public sharing of information over need-to-know access.
  6. Opening up every document for editing by anyone over top-down control of documents.
  7. Asynchronous communication over synchronous communication.
  8. The results of work over the hours put in.
  9. Formal communication channels over informal communication channels.

Why remote?

"Remote is not a challenge to overcome. It's a clear business advantage." -Victor, Product Manager, GitLab

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.

But we also recognize that being part of an all-remote company isn't for everyone. Here's a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages.

Our long-term vision for remote work

Learn more about GitLab's long-term vision for remote work, and why we can embrace the future of work right now.

Why GitLab uses the term all-remote to describe its 100% remote workforce

All-remote means that each individual in an organization is empowered to work and live where they are most fulfilled. By including the word "all" in "all-remote," it makes clear that every team member is equal. No one, not even the executive team, meets in-person on a daily basis.

Learn more about why GitLab uses the term all-remote to describe its 100% remote workforce.

Why GitLab uses GitLab for remote collaboration

GitLab is a collaboration tool designed to help people work better together whether they are in the same location or spread across multiple time zones. Originally, GitLab let software developers collaborate on writing code and packaging it up into software applications. Today, GitLab has a wide range of capabilities used by people around the globe in all kinds of companies and roles.

You can learn more at GitLab's remote team solutions page.

How we built our all-remote team

As GitLab has grown, we've learned a lot about what it takes to build and manage a fully remote team, and want to share this knowledge to help others be successful.

Find out how GitLab makes it work.

Advantages and benefits

Operating in an all-remote environment provides a multitude of benefits and competitive advantages for employees, employers, and the world.

Learn more about benefits and advantages to operating in an all-remote environment.

Disadvantages

Despite its many 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.

Learn more about disadvantages to all-remote, along with solutions to these challenges.

Remote work emergency plan: What to do (and where to start)

Due to global issues concerning COVID-19 (Coronavirus), many employees and employers are facing a new reality: they're remote, and they’re unsure of when they’ll be able to return to the office.

For leaders who are suddenly managing work-from-home teams, here are five things you can focus on right now to maximize stability.

Remote work starter guide: how to adjust to work-from-home

For employees who are grappling with a new remote reality (or forced work-from-home), here are five tips to implement straight away in your journey to acclimate.

The phases of remote adaptation

As teams grapple with transitioning from a colocated environment to a remote one, it's common to see differing levels of adaptability.

Learn more about the phases of remote adaptation.

People

All-remote organizations tend to attract people who place a high degree of value on autonomy, flexibility, empathy, and mobility. It also presents outsized opportunity for people who must live or prefer to live in rural areas, where well-paying careers in technical industries are few and far between.

Learn more about the types of people who are adopting a remote lifestyle.

Non-linear workday

How diverse, invigorating, gratifying, and productive could your day be if you threw away the notion that you had to stick to a daily routine?

Learn more about what life can look and feel like when embracing a non-linear workday.

Values

While all-remote isn't a value itself, it's something we do in order to practice our values.

Learn how a collection of values at GitLab contributes to a thriving all-remote environment.

Building and reinforcing a sustainable culture

Culture is best defined not by how a company or team acts when all is well; rather, by the behaviors shown during times of crisis or duress.

Learn more about creating a thriving, lasting remote culture.

Combating burnout, isolation, and anxiety

Mental health is an important topic for all companies, and creating a healthy remote workplace is essential to business success.

Learn more about combating burnout, isolation, and anxiety in the remote workplace.

Jobs

Job seekers are wise to point their efforts towards companies that are built to support 100% remote. You're able to bypass hours of lobbying for a remote arrangement during the interview process, and you're assured that the tools you need to operate effectively from anywhere will be included from the get-go.

Learn more about all-remote and remote-first organizations leading the way, job boards that curate high-quality remote roles, and informal job searching tactics.

How to evaluate a remote role

Not every every remote job is created equal. Learn more about considerations and questions to ask when evaluating a remote role.

Getting started in a remote role

Learn more about considerations and tips for starting a new remote role.

Management

Managing an all-remote company is much like managing any other company. It comes down to trust, communication, and company-wide support of shared goals.

Learn more about what's required to effectively and efficiently manage an all-remote company.

Forcing functions to work remote-first

Whether it's unwinding from offices entirely and going all-remote, or attempting to create a level playing field for in-office and remote team members in a hybrid-remote arrangement, leaders should consider key forcing functions to ensure a commitment to remote-first practices.

Learn more about tactical, actionable steps that will send a clear message that leadership is serious about implementing remote in the organization.

Collaboration and whiteboarding with remote teams

"How do you collaborate and whiteboard in a remote environment?" is a frequently asked question. In a colocated setting, collaboration often happens face-to-face with a whiteboard on hand in a conference room. Working remotely sometimes feels like working on your own, with your own calendar, and your own schedule. With a common goal, strategic planning, and the right collaboration tools, working in a remote environment can be even more productive than working in an office.

Learn more about collaboration and whiteboarding in remote work environments.

Scaling

GitLab believes that all-remote is the future of work, and that it not only works well at scale, but works better at scale than antiquated colocated models.

Learn more about challenges, solutions, and benefits of all-remote at scale.

Stages of remote work

Learn more about the various stages of remote work, from no remote to all-remote.

Tips for working remotely

Building a remote team or starting your first all-remote job? Check out our tips for working remotely.

Resources

Browse our resources page to learn more about GitLab's approach, read about remote work in the news, and see what other companies are leading the way.

We've also compiled a list of companies that have been inspired by GitLab's culture.

Hiring

GitLab envisions a world where talented, driven individuals can find roles and seek employment based on business needs, rather than an oftentimes arbitrary location.

Hiring across the globe isn't without its challenges. There are local regulations and risks unique to countries and regions around the globe. We believe that these challenges are worth overcoming, and opening our recruiting pipeline beyond the usual job centers creates a competitive advantage. We hope to see this advantage wane as more all-remote companies are created.

Learn more about hiring in an all-remote environment.

Compensation

While there are certain complexities to paying team members who are spread out in over 50 countries, we believe that it's worthwhile. Being an all-remote company enables us to hire the world's best talent, not just the best talent from a few cities.

Learn more about compensation in an all-remote environment.

Learning and Development

We believe that all-remote companies are at a competitive advantage when it comes to educating and developing team members.

Learn more on how to make learning and development a companywide mindset in an all-remote environment.

Self-service

It's not what you know. It's knowing where to look. This is true at GitLab and other organizations that are intentional about documenting processes, and it is entirely counter to how typical work environments are structured.

Learn more about the importance of self-searching, self-learning, and self-service in an all-remote organization.

Informal Communication

In an all-remote environment, informal communication should be formally addressed. Leaders should organize informal communication, and to whatever degree possible, design an atmosphere where team members all over the globe feel comfortable reaching out to anyone to converse about topics unrelated to work.

Learn more about enabling informal communication in an all-remote company.

Asynchronous communication

In an all-remote setting, where team members are empowered to live and work where they're most fulfilled, mastering asynchronous workflows is vital to avoiding dysfunction and enjoying outsized efficiencies. Increasingly, operating asynchronously is necessary even in colocated companies which have team members on various floors or offices, especially when multiple time zones are involved.

Learn more about implementing asynchronous workflows in your organization, and the benefits to both employee and employer.

Handbook-first documentation

A handbook-first organization is home to team members who benefit from having a single source of truth to lean on. This type of organization is able to operate with almost supernatural efficiency. An organization that does not put concerted effort into documenting has no choice but to watch its team members ask and re-ask for same bits of data in perpetuity, creating a torturous loop of interruptions, meetings, and suboptimal knowledge transfers.

Learn more about the significance of handbook-first documentation.

Meetings

Learn how to decide when a meeting is necessary and how to optimize them in an all-remote environment.

Communicating effectively and responsibly through text

Embracing text communication and learning to use it effectively requires a mental shift. This can feel unusual or even uncomfortable for those who come from a colocated environment, where in-person meetings and vocalized communiques are the norm.

Learn more about mastering the use of the written word in an all-remote setting.

In-person interactions

While there are tremendous advantages to operating a 100% remote company, leaders should consider being intentional about planning in-person elements, even if they're optional for team members.

Learn more about considerations for in-person interactions in a remote company.

Workspace

All-remote enables the creation of a custom office, perfectly tailored for your desires and ergonomic needs.

Learn more about key considerations when building and evolving your remote workspace.

Stories

Read the stories of some of our team members and hear how remote work has impacted their lives.

Interviews

Read and listen to interviews on the topic of working remotely, hosted by GitLab team members.

History

Learn about historical milestones, inflection points, and prescient interviews in the evolution and expansion of remote work.

Hybrid-remote

Hybrid-remote companies have one or more offices where a subset of the company commutes to each day, paired with a subset of the company that works remotely.

Learn more about advantages, challenges, and the primary differences between all-remote and other forms of remote working.

Transitioning or adding remote

Learn more about considerations for transitioning a colocated or hybrid-remote company to 100% remote.

What not to do when implementing remote

An organization should not attempt to merely replicate the in-office/colocated experience, remotely.

Learn more about what not to do when transitioning to remote, or moving towards remote.

Working while traveling

Working remotely enables a tremendous amount of freedom, enabling team members to work from anywhere so long as there is a reliable internet connection.

Learn more about optimizing comfort and efficiency when taking your office with you while traveling.

Remote work conferences, summits, and events

Particularly for those who are seeking a new role with an all-remote or remote-first company, events can be a great place to meet others who have experience and connections in the space.

Learn more about remote work conferences and summits, the power of networking, and the unique elements of experiencing a virtual event.

Remote internships

Remote internships are unique in one primary way: there is no physical office involved.

Learn more about considerations for both employee and employer as it relates to remote internships (also referred to as apprenticeships and co-ops).

All-remote Pick Your Brain interviews

If people want advice on structuring or managing an all-remote organization, we'd love to connect. Learn more about requesting a Pick Your Brain interview on all-remote.

Contribute to this page

At GitLab, we recognize that the whole idea of all-remote organizations is still quite new, and can only be successful with active participation from the whole community. Here's how you can participate: