Is this the start of the remote working revolution?

Is this the start of the remote working revolution?

[Engels] Four tech leaders share their thoughts on remote working in 2020

23 maart 2020

Welcome to COVID-19 lockdown. Working during this period of social distancing comes with many questions – ‘How does one stay motivated working from home?’, ‘How many snack breaks are too many snack breaks?’ and ‘Remote working is great, why am I only trying it now?’.

Remote working is not some outlandish initiative of the future. As tech recruiters, it is a concept we work with daily and is often a perk tech-professionals negotiate into their contracts. Over the last 10 years, the structure of work has evidently changed so you may not be surprised to hear that some of the world’s leading tech companies operate partly and in some cases 100% remotely.

Suddenly ‘teleworking’ has been placed in the spotlight and companies who thought it to be taboo are forced to put it to the test. Is this the push we needed to ignite the remote working revolution?

Here are the big clues that indicate a remote working economy is at our doorstep, discussed by five professionals in the tech space…


Tech leaders are adopting remote work, and their successes are being shared.

The world’s leading tech businesses including Automattic, Zapier, Invision, Buffer, and GitLab have adopted remote working, some even operating 100% remotely without the need for an office. GitLab are one of the latter and are widely considered to be the modern pioneer of the 100% remote model. Since its 2012 inception, GitLab has grown to become a billion-dollar business with not a single head office.

GitLab was all-remote from inception, scaling to over 1,200 people with no company-owned offices. Remote is a core part of our talent and operational strategy. It enables us to hire the world’s best people, work with unparalleled efficiency and autonomy, be less susceptible to local disturbances/crises, and provide an inclusive atmosphere for all including caregivers, military spouses, mobility challenged and more.

Roos Takken, People Business Partner Engineering @ GitLab


We already have access to tech that will guarantee our teams can be successful in remote working.

If we’re strictly speaking technology, the world is ready for remote working. In a survey by GitLab, ‘86% of respondents believed that remote work is the future. But it’s also the present, as evidenced by 84% of those surveyed saying that they are able to accomplish all of their tasks remotely right now’. Companies like Slack are removing the need for the distracting desk ‘pop-in’. Web conferencing tools like Google Hangouts Meet and Zoom take meetings online seamlessly and companies like Culture Amp collect and understand employee feedback to foster more open cultures online. Miro is another that is doing big things, allowing employees in multiple locations to share, collaborate and connect…

Over the past several years, we’ve seen an increase in companies recognizing that hiring employees across multiple locations is a competitive advantage. But to truly make a distributed workforce work, you need the right tools for remote work, whether it’s for chatting, videoconferencing, or documenting workflows. Our customers use Miro as an online whiteboard that enables teams to effortlessly collaborate as if they were in the same room. 

Sarah Beldo, Content Marketing & Communications @ Miro


Tech and marketing professionals agree that negotiating a flexible working arrangement into their contract is important.

As recruiters, we get to peek behind the scenes of both a candidates ‘wants’ and employer’s ‘perks’. With the power being placed in tech professionals’ hands during the widespread tech talent shortage – more and more professionals are insisting on a contractual portion of their workweek being remote. ‘Flexible’ is the word our candidates and clients often use when referring to a partially remote working arrangement.

Based on an analysis of our current and past candidate demand, remote work is here to stay. Companies would be smart to design their job offerings with a prioritization on remote and semi-remote work to attract and retain top technical talent during this workstyle revolution we are experiencing.

Joe Walsh, Founder @ Orange Quarter


Professionals love remote working.

In a report by Buffer, 99% of professionals said they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. Remote working professionals benefit from flexible schedules, a boost in work-life balance and the ability to work from anywhere  – although most choose to work from home even with the rise of the co-working space.

Remote work can be a great motivator since it gives the employee direct control over their “office” environment. The music, the thermostat, the coffee quality, the time saved by not commuting – it’s optimization paradise for those who have access to a quiet space at home. Those who don’t have that privilege during this crisis will have a much harder time loving it. For teams and professionals who were forced into remote work, leadership is of crucial importance. Set clear expectations, make sure there’s time for social interactions, and be mindful about distractions in a non-optimized workspace. 

Valentina Thörner, Head of Product @ Klaus



While this remote working trial has given us a look into possibilities of remote working, it is important to note that COVID-19 provides us with unusual barriers to enjoying the full benefits of remote working. Lack of childcare, closure of dedicated co-working spaces and the short notice to be able to optimise our space presents us with challenges that the ‘normal’ remote worker would not necessarily have on the day-to-day.

Remote working has been given a mainstream trail and while under extraordinary circumstances, it may be enough to ignite a widespread push for more of it around the world.