For many people, the preferred workplace is a home office. Of course, not all remote workers make their offices at home - but the majority do.
"Remote work from home" is any work that is performed in an individual's home, on behalf of an organization that may or may not have physical offices.
Ultimately, the best way to work remotely depends on your personal preferences. However, many aspects of home working are more or less universal. Here are five approaches that are likely to boost your remote work-from-home proficiency.
Where you work is as important as what you work on and who you work with. Having a defined space helps usher you into an area of focus. While it is ideal to dedicate a room for work, if that is not possible, you can do something simple like hanging a curtain to block off a place of work.
Once you have created your workspace, focus on ergonomics for a healthy setup. Ask your employer if they will reimburse you for items such as chairs, noise-canceling headphones, monitors, external keyboards, etc. that promote a healthy and focused workspace. Try not to compromise on comfort. You may be able to work uncomfortably temporarily, but your productivity, health, and mood will likely decline over time.
For a full list of home office optimizations, visit GitLab's guide to a productive home office.
Discover more in GitLab's Remote Work playlist.
When you're working remotely from home, it can be difficult to set boundaries between work time and … everything else.
This is likely to be the most difficult hurdle to clear, particularly for new work-from-home employees who have family in your home during your work hours. You should have a dedicated conversation with family, helping them understand that just because you're home, doesn't mean you're available.
On the other hand, when there's no physical office to leave, it's tempting to work longer than is expected (or healthy). Proactively planning what you'll do with your commute time is key to ramping into a workday as well as ramping off. You can set reminders to begin and end work or pre-plan activities during the void previously filled by a commute. A daily schedule will look different for each individual, but leaving your home for a walk or a planned activity with friends/community may be a great way to create clear work/life separation.
GitLab has created this extensive guide to combating burnout, isolation, and anxiety in the remote workplace.
When there is no office to spark spontaneous informal communication, you must be intentional about weaving it into your day.
One of the benefits of remote is the ability to experiment with unconventional working days. Not everyone shares the same peak hours of energy and focus. For example, if you work best in late evenings, let your team know you are going to try some non-linear workdays.
You can maximize the benefits of asynchronous workflows in an all-remote situation if you fill your former commute space with things that make you healthier like exercising, resting, bonding with family, cooking, reading, studying, etc.
Relax: you aren't born knowing how to work from home. You cannot copy an in-office environment and paste it into a remote one and expect everyone to function as usual. Transitioning to remote is a process. When done well, a transition to remote avoids serious harm operationally as well as culturally.
It's important to overcommunicate with your team as you adjust.
For a deep dive, consider studying and implementing suggestions from GitLab's comprehensive guide to 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 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 1,500 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 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.