In today’s Virtual Coffee Chat, Luis shares highlights from GitLab’s remote work report 2021. Here are the important takeaways.
People enjoy the ability to work remotely because they can feel all the advantages, but at the same time, there’s an uncertainty to the way the work has come, the way the work is conducted and the way the work is distributed. Everyone is still figuring out this new way of working. It’s a big shift in paradigm. So of course, sometimes it’s going to feel uncomfortable. A lot of times people are going to have doubts, feel imposter syndrome and have doubts if what they’re doing is actually working out is actually right. The GitLab Remote Work Report 2021 covers a lot of interesting points. Luis analyzes the important takeaways in this video.
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Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to Virtual Coffee Chat with Luis. Today we’re going to be talking about GitLab’s remote work report from 2021. And guessing in this video will probably be my cats because that’s how they feel like and when cats feel like being on camera, there’s very little that one can do.
So let’s start by… Well, small disclaimer. I was on holidays. I didn’t manage to go through the whole remote work report. I just saw GitLab’s highlights and for now that’s okay because I know [Darren 00:00:42], he’s been on the podcast from GitLab and I studied the company. I think they’re pretty trustworthy and transparent on how they analyze and how they put the information out there. That said, of course, I’m going to read the report and I’m going to go in deeper into it in the next couple of shows. But for now, let’s look at the highlights as presented by GitLab. So what are the key takeaways? Oh, and of course, this is the Coffee Chat. So let’s have that sip.
Excited about this report. Almost forgot my coffee. It’s like it’s congratulations, GitLab. You made me forget my coffee for some moments. So that’s cool. And by the way, let’s count down to cat as well because the cat is threatening to get in the picture. We’ll see if she shows up or not. I’ll introduce you if she does. So anyway, the key takeaways are number one, talent flows where flexibility rains, which is a fancy way of saying that people consider, the respondents from the survey, it’s almost 4,000 respondents. Half of them consider leaving their co-located company for a remote role. And more interestingly, one in three respondents said they would quit their job if remotes work with suddenly no longer an option.
Now, I’m going to temper the stats a bit with the fact that there’s clearly some bias here. The survey was conducted among people who know that in the future, they will either be able to keep their remote work position or have the option to do so. Now, when you already know that you’re going to get something, it’s easier to say, “Oh, I would quit if I didn’t get it.” When they say this, it’s not like they think that they would actually do it because they don’t have to.
So there’s no skin in the game here so to say, so obviously people will have a higher level of bravado and say, “I would never work here if they didn’t allow me to do this,” which they already do. So I would say that this, that. I understand why they head with it, because it’s a big, impactful statement at the beginning, but I don’t really think that the actual true percentage would be so large. That said, obviously working remotely is a game changer for many people. And so it carries a high value. So I would definitely say, I mean, myself, I wouldn’t work this job. I wouldn’t work as marketing director in a non-remote company. Obviously by my own logic, easy enough to say that. Easy enough to say that because I’m already remote. Any case, let’s move on to highlight number two, transparency creates belonging.
That’s why I like glass, transparent cups because they create belonging. No really, so a decent amount, a decent chunk, about one third of the respondents noted that more transparency from leadership leads to feeling more connectedness at work and a slightly larger amount said that visibility into work within an organization improves their sense of connection.
That’s fine. That’s not particularly related to remote, I think. It’s nice to know the why. This is something that I usually tell people when they ask for management advice, explain the why. Even if people don’t have the power to make a decision about the work that they’re going to do, it’s very motivating to know the why, to know that they’re not just being treated as an automata, but they actually know why they’re doing what they’re doing. So I mean, no surprise here.
Number three, there’s a contrast of perception and reality, because even though four in five people would recommend remote working to a friend and over 80% of them are satisfied with their level of productivity, only over a third report that their organization does a good job of aligning work across projects. So again, nothing particularly new here. We’ve talked about this in a previous Coffee Chat.
People enjoy the ability to work remotely because they can feel all the advantages, but at the same time, there’s something that people can’t quite put their finger on. It feels somewhat chaotic. There’s an uncertainty to the way the work has come, the way the work is conducted, the way the work is distributed, et cetera. And that’s growing pains really. Working remotely, despite new remote work experts popping up like mushrooms over the last year, make no mistake. We’re still figuring this out. Even the experts, especially the experts. We are still figuring this out. It’s a big shift in paradigm. So of course, sometimes it’s going to feel uncomfortable. A lot of times people are going to have doubts, feel imposter syndrome and have doubts if what they’re doing is actually working out is actually right.
Take away number four, remote [inaudible 00:06:35] the main stream. So 45% of the respondents said that they have less than a year of remote experience. So they are newly remoted people. And again, let’s go back to the selection pool. Not only are they newly remote, 100% of the respondents will know for a fact that they will continue working remotely for the foreseeable future or will have the option to. So that means that obviously these 45% people will stick doing remote. So clearly this is, on a decent, very decent sample size of almost 4,000 people, almost half of them are new and are going to stay remote. So if we can consider that this is representative of reality, that’s a decent, decent chunk.
The numbers that I’ve been seeing lately across other studies are more in the area of 20, 25 ish percent. Obviously there’s always some bias, especially GitLab is a very remote focused organization. Their partners for the survey are as well. So there’s, I’d say that the truth is probably somewhere in between. The number that they got here, and the other numbers that I’ve been seeing. But make no mistake, the future of work is remote, even if it’s only 20%. The lower estimates, that’s a fifth. That’s a fifth of the western workforce. So, wow.
So anyway, there’s no putting the genie back in the ball. That’s takeaway five. Again, well, very good copywriting here. Over 80% agree that remote work is the future of work with nearly as many saying they would recommend it to a friend. Now, okay, fair enough. It’s worth pointing out, as GitLab does in this study that if these people like remote work this much now where the world is in a state of chaos and they are actually stuck at home and not actually able to properly use the flexibility and time to focus that remote works allow for, I imagine once everything is good. Hey, Peach.
So here you have Peach. For some reason, whenever I’m recording, she decides that it’s a good time to do her little cat thing jumping on my shoulder. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little break brought to you by Calico cats. I should start that coffee brand, Calico Cat Coffee. Anyway, trade market, please someone.
Take away number six, employers win too. So basically people report increased productivity, almost 40% increased efficiency. Reduction in bureaucracy and politics, this is interesting. I should do a Coffee Chat about this. Almost a fourth of the people cited a reduction in bureaucracy and politics. Would you like me to talk about this? Let me know in the comments, okay?
Improve documentation and processes, 20%. Actually this frightens me that only 20% said that there was improved documentation and process because it’s essential for remote work to work. You need to document everything. You need to make your processes. You need to have a place where your processes are clearly outlined and visible to everyone that would need to use them. So that’s a non-negotiable in remote work. So actually I think that this number is quite low.
Seventh, the office is a hard habit to break. Almost half of people worry about not seeing their colleagues in person and over a third are concerned about their ability to collaborate effectively. I think there’s a bit of wishful thinking in this headline, the office is a hard habit to break. I know that GitLab firmly believes that in person-ness, let’s create the new word. In person-ness is not really required for people to bond and to be able to collaborate effectively. I actually think that in person-ness is important. Doesn’t have to be all the time, but it’s nice to have meetups and GitLab actually agrees with me because they do have meet ups.
So anyway, a catalyst for diversity, worldwide women make only 38% of the workforce. And in remote work, they are the majority at almost 60%. I can definitely say that’s the case with ThinkRemote, thinkremote.com. It’s actually 80% female. And yeah, well I guess it comes with reducing the bias. Reducing the bias in hiring because there’s less bias. This has been studied somewhat. I should look up those studies so I could actually link that. But there are a couple of studies that when you are doing the interviews by video call, there’s actually less bias than when you’re doing it in person.
Also let’s say things as they are, the remote work environments are much less prone to problems, problems of discrimination. Culturally, they’re just nicer because people working remote work, there’s a big chance that they worry about stuff like work-life balance, avoiding burnout, et cetera. And that’s just more appealing. That’s just more appealing. It just makes for a nicer place to work. And a nicer place to work comes with less biases and less discrimination.
Anyway, next stop, burnout. Yes. Over 40% admit that they struggle with maintaining boundaries. Here, I’m in this 40%, but I’m trying to improve. And the documentation divide, I talked about this a bit earlier. Fewer than 50% feel their organization is doing enough to share company-wide goals, documents, processes, et cetera. Yep. I agree. This is a problem. People need to solve it. It’s hard work. It’s not necessarily super engaging work because it’s much more fun to do stuff than to document stuff, but we need to do it. That’s the price we pay for actually doing great at remote work and being able to work remotely effectively. It’s just a cost. Everything has costs. Coffee breaks go virtual. I’ve lost count of the takeaways, but yeah, more people do virtual coffee breaks.
Of course, people like to have some face time to discuss, to entertain and be entertained. So that’s the end. That’s the final one. Tell me, hey, ping me in the comments. Let me know if you’d like me to talk about one of those or more of those or more of these at length, at greater length. I’ll probably go over the report and make some more Coffee Chats about it. This was a big one and a worthy one. I need some coffee. But I think it’s very interesting. I’m very skeptical about these surveys because they tend to be very biased. And I mean, I don’t think that GitLab makes a secret that they are biased. They are really defenders of remote work.
They are very into evangelizing the remote work and remote work culture. But at the same time, they’re a very respectful organization. I really think that they made a good effort at trying to vet these conclusions. So let’s see. If you want me to talk about any of these things more in detail, please give like, subscribe and leave your request in the comments. And of course, don’t forget to visit thinkremote.com. Thinkremote.com will have everything you need to learn about the world of remote from news to guides. This was Virtual Coffee Chat with Luis for ThinkRemote. See you tomorrow.