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.
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).
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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.
86% believe remote work is the future
84% said they can accomplish all of their tasks remotely right now
62% would consider leaving a co-located company for a remote role (reduced anxiety, improved health and reduced office politics were top reasons cited)SEE: Working remotely: A professional's guide to the essential tools (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
52% traveled less as remote employees
52% said they are more productive working remotely
48% said they are more efficient when working remotely
38% said a lack of commute is a top benefit
Time earned back from commuting can be spent with family (43%), working (35%), resting (36%), and exercising (34%).
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Overwhelming benefits of remote work
Remote work levels the playing field by fostering a better sense of work-life balance and creates opportunities for everyone to contribute in the workplace. Telecommuting shouldn't be a reaction to an event (such as the coronavirus), but an "intentional approach" that "creates greater efficiency, more geographically and culturally diverse teams," and heightened transparency."
More than one in four respondents work in an all-remote organization (no offices, embracing asynchronous workflows, allowing each employee to work in their own time zone), and 43% surveyed said it was important to work for an all-remote workforce company. In addition, nearly 50% say they are "lucky" to work remotely and 66% are already connected to remote work communities.
Fewer meetings: 50% of remote workers surveyed said they default to shared documents and rely on meetings "only as a last resort." Others ask, "is there a better way to work than have a meeting in the first place?"
For those differently abled or who have health issues: of the 14% remote workers who have a disability or chronic illness, 83% cited remote work as a key factor in their ability to contribute to the workforce.
Family: 55% respondents have children under the age of 18, and 34% said the ability to care for family is a top benefit of remote work.
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