Fluidity Is the New Flexibility

PERKS Editorial Team

PERKS Editorial Team


March 23, 2022

The Building Culture Podcast - Episode 4.7

Darren Murph, Head of Remote at Gitlab - "Fluidity Is the New Flexibility"

Darren Murph, Head of Remote at Gitlab, is our special guest on this episode where we evaluate the positives, challenges, and future of remote work. What is the role of remote in promoting positive team culture? How do we achieve success in a remote environment? Join the conversation by tweeting us @getperks_io.


You can download the episode here.
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  • Darren Murph is the Head of Remote at GitLab, as well as advisor to PERKS, Guinness World Record Holder in blogging, and adoptive dad.
    • How did you become such a proponent for remote work? Was there a specific event that put you on this path?
      • For Darren, it went in hand-in-hand with new experiences, balance, travel
      • Meeting like-minded thinkers along the way
  • Why do you believe that remote work is the future of work?
    • Taking advantage of technological advancements
  • What does the position of Head of Remote do? Why do we see this role opening up in more organizations?
    • Does every organization need a Head of Remote?
      • When an organization does not have a head of remote, the responsibilities may fall under HR
    • Challenges of remote work?
      • Adequate documentation
      • For PERKS, half of team came down with COVID.
        • Because we’re so flexible, people were still working at different times because it wasn’t severe - but never at 100%
  • Attitudes toward remote work before 2020 and after
    • Telework/telecommuting/remote policies pre-pandemic - many organizations may have had them in place, but no one knew about them
    • Overnight transition to fully remote
    • Cautious optimism re: hybrid or remote-first
      • Darren, have you noticed any differences in attitude 2 years into a mostly remote environment? Where do you see this trending?
  • How do we ensure people can succeed both as individuals and as part of a team in a remote work environment?
    • Becoming a "manager of one" and understanding that everyone has unique needs to be their most productive selves
  • What are the ways that remote work promotes productivity, work-life balance, and accessibility? 
    • How do we know that culture is working well within a remote organization?
  • Remote work and parenting
    • How should I manage my remote work with kids?
      • Results are more important than the number of hours worked 
      • Gitlab sub-value: Family and friends come first, work second. 
    • Leaders can’t tell employees to have a good weekend/evening, keep working, and expect people to respond immediately
    • Executives need to be present during work hours so employees don’t feel like their leaders are absent
    • Setting up rituals or routines (and doing them)
    • Being intentional and setting aside time for work and family time
      • Have a place you can share solutions to specific challenges (different modes: in-person meeting, Slack, text group)
  • Documentation
    • GitLab’s Remote Playbook has helped the team at PERKS structure our remote work policies.
      • What is the playbook and how can it be used?
        • Updated annually, the database and manual for how to succeed at GitLab
  • How do we ensure that everyone feels like they have a sense of belonging in a remote environment?
    • What advice would you give teams who want to prioritize culture?
  • What rituals does Darren use to unwind personally?
  • Remote work gives people the flexibility and fluidity to thrive. This is what it comes back to and why we are speaking about this in this season on the People Experience.