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InfoQ Homepage News GitLab 2020 Remote Work Report Highlights Key Motivators for Remote Work

GitLab 2020 Remote Work Report Highlights Key Motivators for Remote Work

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GitLab has just released its 2020 Remote Work Report, which provides a thorough perspective on remote work from the viewpoint of both remote workers and their employers. Based on over 3,000 respondents across various industries and roles, the report also aims to give a glimpse of what remote work might look like in the future.

The GitLab survey describes a diversity of approaches to remote working. In the majority of cases, remote work coexists as an additional option alongside co-located work with varying degrees of integration. About 25% of respondents, though, work for an office-less, all-remote organization and follow their own native time zones. In 12% of cases, however, respondents were working for an all-remote organization but following a common work schedule.

One of the most interesting outcomes of the GitLab survey is the high number of employees who think they are more productive and efficient working remotely, specifically valuing flexible scheduling, lack of commute, and a reduction in anxiety and office politics. Surprisingly, 62% of respondents state they would leave their co-located job for a remote role and 32% would leave their remote role if remote work ceased to be an option.

Remote organizations also seem to better foster shared contribution to process, values, and company direction, according to the opinion of 52% of respondents. Speaking of communitation, 50% of respondents prefer using shared documents instead of meetings for communication.

GitLab 2020 Remote Work Report contains a wealth of information that cannot be covered here. However, to learn more about the survey, InfoQ has taken the chance to speak with GitLab head of remote Darren Murph.

InfoQ: The Report sheds an optimistic view on remote work and its future growth. Could you elaborate more on remote work downsides?

Darren Murph: Remote work has drawbacks, though GitLab believes that the society-changing impact of remote work far exceeds inconveniences and obstacles, and most pale in comparison to the personal and environmental drain of a commute.

Remote settings can cause a breakdown in communication skills if organizations aren't deliberate about creating ways for their people to stay connected. In other words, it’s largely on the employer to build the remote infrastructure and culture required for employees to maximally thrive. Most remote work drawbacks are rooted in an organization’s shortcomings on this front.

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. This is why GitLab will reimburse coworking or external office fees.

Team members in different time zones may have to compromise on meeting times, and it may be difficult to explain to family members that just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you’re free to not work.

A more thorough list of drawbacks are found in the GitLab handbook.

InfoQ: What is currently hindering further development of a remote working culture across companies? And what could change that?

Murph: Traditions, a lack of education around remote team management, and an absence of trust. Antiquated norms value hours in seats more than actual results. As more senior leaders begin to understand that they can accomplish their goals from anywhere, while simultaneously moving into seasons of life where family and community are of increasing importance, remote work will begin to take hold.

Moreover, as crisis grip the world and rising real estate costs make certain geographic regions ill-suited for business, founders will realize that remote is a de-risking function. Soon, co-located companies will need to justify to investors why they are adamant about spending on real estate and pinning themselves to one or more geographies.

InfoQ: Speaking of DevOps, a sector where GitLab is directly involved with its products, in which ways is GitLab enabling remote work across DevOps-centered organizations?

Murph: GitLab is a product built by a remote team, for remote teams. GitLab is tailor-made for asynchronous work. Because of this, many organizations adopting GitLab are also adopting asynchronous workflows — a key step in thriving as a remote team. This enables teams to move more quickly, communicate more inclusively, and share updates with higher detail and precision. It’s a more efficient way to communicate and reduces fragmentation and silos within organizations.

If you have an interest in remote working, do not miss GitLab 2020 Remote Work full report (PDF).

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