GitLab is a company that makes tools for software developers. You might have not heard about it, I certainly haven’t until just recently and you might probably confuse it for GitHub. But this company is a classic Silicon Valley story. A tech startup moves to the Bay Area to set up shop, gets a plan of action, and turn into a big and profitable tech company.
Well, much of that story seems to be adding up, except for the fact that GitLab has very few employees coming to the office. No, leave that! Very few GitLab employees actually line in Silicon Valley. All of the employees work from home; or as might be called within a close circle I know, telecommuting to work.
Currently, the company has 350 employees from across 45 countries around the world. The typical workday in this company is filled with video calls and Slack chats. The employees stay constantly connected online. The employees work with synergy so well remotely that the company revenue hit $10.5 million in 2017. A 6213% growth from the $165,000 it made in 2014. It also received a $100 million funding in September, which made its market valuation hit $1 billion.
The company’s product entails a free limited access to its software development tools for individual developers. While enterprise companies get premium packages.
The advantages of Remote Working for Companies
The founders of GitLab say that thanks to online working, they get access to top talent without having to ask them to move from their hometowns or countries. Plus the hiring pool is quite gigantic.
The main problem with remote working is that often one finds themselves video conferencing with colleagues in a ‘less than perfect background.’ As you can imagine, not that many people have offices spaces set up in their homes. So sometimes they pick or make the calls while in the bedroom, at the dinner table, in their garden, or whichever other private places.
Naturally, the private and informal settings of the background during the video calls might be distracting. You can also find employees who are damn good at their work but are very hesitant about sharing their personal stuff. The sort of people who find it uncomfortable to talk to strangers over a video call, and you end up with an awkward situation such as someone video chatting in a dark room or wearing concealing stuff such as sunglasses. Perhaps even setting the camera at an awkward position, so that people they talking with over the video call do not get to see the background.
As you can see in the picture above, GitLab does have many employees. But they are all from different countries and almost never be in the same room, building, town, or even time zone with one another.