What people tend to get wrong about remote work

Part II of an interview with Darren Murph, head of Remote at GitLab

What do people tend to get wrong about remote work? And how can companies make it work better for them?

While just about every tech company on the planet has become remote over the last few weeks, GitLab has been at this a while — since pretty much day one of its existence back in 2014, in fact. Since then they’ve grown to more than 1,200 employees across 65 countries, with a staggering valuation of nearly $3 billion. They’ve figured out some stuff along the way, sharing it all in an ever-evolving handbook.

I recently hopped on a call with GitLab’s head of Remote, Darren Murph, to get some insight on how they make it all work. This is the second part of my interview with Murph; he and I chatted for quite a while, so I’ve split it into two parts for easier reading. You can find Part I here.

TechCrunch: There’s this ongoing conversation about how people are coming away from this remote experience. Are they walking away saying, “yeah, that was great, we can do this day-to-day, I wouldn’t have seen that before,” or is the fact that they’re being thrust into this, and on not the best terms, going to have a negative impact?

Do you think this [sudden shift] is going to have a positive impact on remote work?

Darren Murph: I do. I’m a long-term optimist on this.

There’s a Gartner survey that just came out. They surveyed over 300 CFOs globally; 74% of them said that they’re going to shift some of their workforce permanently remote after this… even though this is the worst possible way to be thrust into remote.

This is the worst of circumstances, and people are still like, “You know, I love not having to commute.” And businesses are like, “You know, I love saving $10,000 per desk by not having that real estate.”

If it’s working in the worst of times… six to 12 months from now, when the crisis is abated and people have had time to lay the remote structure, build their handbooks, get the right remote hygiene integrated into the DNA of their company… it’s going to be like, warp-speed accelerator.

If you can make it work now, you can make it work any time.