Debunking work from home myths with employees telecommuting during coronavirus epidemic

A new report from the all-remote GitLab reveals the most common mistakes made when transitioning workers from in-office to telecommuting.

Whether it's the communicable threat of COVID-19, cost efficiency, or the effort to lure top talent away from competitors, having a remote workforce—or at least a partial one—is an increasing reality.

The top takeaway from the all-remote GitLab's first "Remote Work Report" is that "an organization should not attempt to merely replicate the in-office/colocated experience, remotely." The differences between remote and in-office work is not only location. 

Companies need to know that the approach to conducting remote work is different. Teams should embrace tools which enable remote communication, and reconsider traditional meetings and informal communication when telecommuting.

"GitLab's inaugural Remote Work Report sheds light on the current reality of remote work during a critical time in its global adoption," said Darren Murph, head of remote, GitLab. "As leaders and team members grapple with going remote, this report provides insights on what matters to those who adopt this way of working, charting a path for building culture around autonomy and flexibility. 

SEE: Coronavirus having major effect on tech industry beyond supply chain delays (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The survey—for which there were 3,000 respondents—noted, "The reality is that almost every company is already a remote company. If you have more than one office, operate a company across more than one floor in a building, or conduct work while traveling, you are a remote company."

Debunking work from home myths

The report, which aims to "debunk remote work myths," includes the probing and familiar employer questions: how can you be certain employees are getting work done, and how to create a company culture without a physical office (or at least one where the staff meets, if not daily, occasionally). 

SEE: Managing remote workers: A business leader's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The reality is that remote work benefits will increase as technology improves in communication and how businesses operate worldwide, it noted in the report, as 84% say they can accomplish all tasks remotely.
 
Sid Sijbrandiji, CEO and co-founder of GitLab, said in a press release,  "We believe all-remote is the future of work, as it delivers extraordinary benefits to businesses and employees. For companies, there are unique operational efficiencies, huge cost savings on office space and a broader pool of job applicants. For employees, this structure enables off-peak lifestyles, family-friendly flexible schedules, and improved work/life harmony. We believe that a world with more all-remote companies will be a more prosperous one, with opportunity more equally distributed."

Remote work's allure

Nearly 90% surveyed are satisfied with the existing tools for remote-team communications and feel leadership provides autonomy for remote workers.