On this page, we're detailing the primary differences between all-remote and other forms of remote working.
In the GitLab Unfiltered video above, Darren (GitLab) and Anna-Karin (Because Mondays) discuss a number of challenges and solutions related to remote work, transitioning a company to remote, working asynchronously, and defaulting to documentation.
Hybrid-remote (which can be referred to as part-remote), is different than all-remote. In an all-remote company, there is no single headquarters, and each team member is free to live and work in any place they choose. Everyone, including executives, is remote, as there are no offices to come to.
Hybrid-remote is currently more common than all-remote, as it is easier for large, established companies to implement. In a hybrid-remote scenario, there is one or more offices where a subset of the company commutes to each day — working physically in the same space — paired with a subset of the company that works remotely.
These institutions are primarily colocated, but allow remote work.
In the GitLab Unfiltered video above, GitLab co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij chats with Maren Kate, founder at AVRA Talent Partners.
In discussing the decision to go all-remote at GitLab, Sid shares the following.
For us, it was really important that people didn't have to come to the office to get information necessary for career opportunities.
From very early on, we started writing things down. During Y Combinator, they told us "Look, remote work is for engineering, but not finance, marketing, or sales."
So, we got an office. People got hired, they came there, but after a few days they stopped showing up.
[Coming to the office] wasn't needed. They weren't getting any extra information. They were on Slack, on Zoom, in Google Docs, in GitLab pages, in GitLab Issues, in GitLab merge requests — they didn't need to be there.
It's not that people like their commute; it's just that people don't want to miss out. If you make sure that people don't miss out, you can be remote, too. It takes a lot of effort and focus to make sure all conversations are captured appropriately and that everything is documented. - GitLab co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij
Some hybrid-remote arrangements do involve regular commutes to the office, though not daily commutes. For example, a remote employee in a hybrid-remote organization may travel to an office one week each month for regularly scheduled in-person interactions, while working from a location of their choosing the rest of the month.
While this scenario may still be preferred over one where remote employees are not invited to visit in-person offices, it isn't quite as flexible as all-remote. There's still a commute involved, which can take the majority of a day in both directions for commutes involving flights.
Hybrid-remote arrangements such as the above offer unique advantages. For hybrid-remote employees who can count on a regular trip to a destination funded by their employer, they're able to plan micro-trips around their business travel.
For hybrid-remote employees with a taste for exploration and a flexibile schedule, these built-in business trips can serve as jumping-off points for exploring new locales that they may not have the means to explore in an all-remote company.
For employers who are committed to a colocated model, but wish to expand their recruiting pipeline beyond the city where they are headquartered, allowing remote employees to join their ranks can be beneficial. Employers may be able to find exceptional team members in a more diverse array of locales, pay them local rates, and sidestep ongoing talent wars in major metropolitan areas.
In doing so, employers would effectively enact a hybrid-remote model, which requires additional considerations to prevent remote employees from being significantly disadvantaged — a point we'll cover in detail below.
In the GitLab Unfiltered video above, GitLab co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij chats with InVision Chief People Officer Mark Frein on the future of all-remote. In the conversation, the two discuss the differences between all-remote and hybrid-remote.
All things being equal, employees longing for additional freedom, autonomy, and workplace flexibility will likely view a hybrid-remote arrangement as superior to a colocated arrangement — one which requires a commute and an in-person presence on a daily basis.
Said another way, "some remote" is often viewed as superior to "no remote." Though far from ideal, it can be rationalized that fewer career opportunities, added judgement, and difficulties in bonding are prices worth paying to live and work where one wants.
There are considerations when accepting a role in a hybrid-remote company, and it's important to be mindful of these potential downsides.
The movement from hybrid-remote to all-remote is defined at GitLab as an
All-Remote Upgrade. For reference, in January 2020, 17% of new hires attending the CEO 101 call moved from a hybrid-remote model to all-remote at GitLab.
This highlights another reality: not all remote models are equal, nor do they create equality. All-remote is the purest form of remote work, where every individual is treated as a first-class citizen.
Through GitLab's All-Remote Stories and the Remote Work GitLab Unfiltered playlist, you can learn more from GitLab team members on what all-remote has meant to them and how it has shaped their lives and communities.
In a remote-first organization, the default is remote. While there may be a company headquarters, or even an array of satellite offices, everything from how meetings are handled to onboarding new hires is structured through a remote lens.
Said another way, there is a culture of assuming that remote is the norm, not the exception, and processes are established to reinforce that.
If you're considering working for a remote-first company, consider asking the following.
It is possible to find remote-first companies with a healthy, understanding culture that works to support both colocated and remote colleagues. Prospective employees should do their own due diligence to make sure the requisite values are established and lived out.
Return to the main all-remote page.