Having an entire organization work remotely is nothing new for software company Gitlab. Emilie Schario, an internal strategy consultant for Gitlab, says the 1,200-person company is the largest fully remote company in the world.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has driven many of us to work remotely, Schario gives us some insight on how remote work can be done successfully.
“The first myth to bust is that remote work is the same work you do in an office, but at home…that’s not the way remote work works,” Schario says.
Schario says remote work may start off that way…but that the real magic with remote work is when you enable people to work asynchronously.
“When people don’t have to be on a call to get things done…then people kind of come to the table whenever they are at their best,” Schario says.
For many right now, remote work comes with additional responsibilities and roles including taking care of kids while schools and childcare centers remain closed. It may be harder to work a normal 9-5 shift compared to when you were in the office.
Schario suggests asynchronous work makes it easy to work on whatever shift you need to get your work done. She describes the process of moving to remote work in a few stages:
“What we would really love to help teams do is move to those next phases in the process,” Schario says. “It’s definitely not easy, we’ve learned a lot of things the hard way.”
When transitioning to asynchronous communication, Schario recommends others to stop presenting in meetings, but instead, record the presentation ahead of time.
“When you have five people on a call, you don’t need to go through a deck…record yourself ahead of time going through it and send it out so they can review ahead of time,” she says.
That way, Schario says, when it is meeting time, you and your colleagues can focus more on the discussions rather than the presentation itself.
Other tips Schario recommends for successfully working remotely include writing down your thought process to share with your coworkers so they understand why you made the decisions you did.
Another tip is human connection with your colleagues.
“It does require a serious level of intentionality to build these relationships when you’re doing them over Zoom…the emotional return on that, the relationship you build with your colleagues, is really phenomenal.”
Schario says Gitlab uses a number of tools to get remote work done, including Slack, Gitlab, Zoom and the OKR framework.
Download Gitlab’s complete remote playbook here.
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