This is NOT the biggest remote work experience ever
This is not the biggest remote work experience ever.
What we are seeing is the biggest forced home office experience in the world, where people are reproducing what they use to do inside the office, working from home. And that's ok.
Remote Work is something else.
Allowing employees to work from home is the very first stage of remote work implementation and by itself a huge change for companies. As a comparison, it's like calling a motorbike to a tricycle. It has the potential to become something great, but it's just too far from being a motorbike.
The second stage of remote work would be to give more flexibility to the employees, flexibility to manage their schedules and work when and where they feel more productive, flexibility to take ownership, to make decisions and to produce great and valuable work.
The third stage of remote work would be to become a distributed company, being able to hire anywhere, with people working in any timezone, being measured by their productivity only, having access to an online onboarding process, online documentation, better-thought communication and freedom.
Most of the companies implementing now are at the very early first stage.
Some really interesting companies are in the second stage, they allow their employees to choose where and when they work, inside some boundaries. Usually, this becomes a mix of having a flexible office with flexibility to work from home up to 4 days a week with some fully remote employees. Most of the companies will stay on this stage, this will become the new status quo in 5 years.
The bravest companies I know are in the third stage, they have no offices, are fully distributed around the world, work asynchronously and hire the best talent in the world. Usually, they grow fast and mastered distributed collaboration.
Being fully distributed requires courage, requires a little bit of craziness and a constant focus on small improvements and in the people who work for you.
Companies like Gitlab with more than 1200 employees, distributed across more than 60 countries all over the world. They are incredible to watch, they are the pure form of what I believe is remote work.
Will this home office experience be the tipping point to have more fully distributed companies like Gitlab?
I don't think so, but it'll be the tipping point to having more flexibility in the workplace, and in some great companies, it will be the opportunity to go to stage 2 of remote work.
And that's a great place to be.
If you have questions about implementing remote work in your company, send me a message on Linkedin, I would love to help!