Founder Sid Sijbrandij Built his Billion-Dollar Empire with a Purely Remote Team. And This is How He Managed His Virtual Team

Built his billion-dollar empire with a purely remote team

Remote Working is the future of work. Back then, you might think it's not possible to build something large scale with a remote work setup. You might even think it's just for small startups scraping some money to survive. But Billionaire Sid Sijbrandij begs to differ.  

Sid Sijbrandij is the co-founder of Gitlab, a software development start-up specializing in easy-to-use and organized DevOps for company projects.

And he built this billion-dollar company with a purely remote team with over 600 employees across 54 countries. If that's not a testament to the possibilities, I don't know what is. Aren't you curious how they actually did it? Well, I am. 

So here are Gitlab's tips to building a thriving remote working team! 


Hybrid Versus a Purely Remote Team

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Hybrid Versus a Purely Remote Team

In an interview by, Sid was asked the possibility of a hybrid versus a purely remote team. In the talks, Sid explained why a purely remote team is better. 

It's better because everyone is in the know when decisions are made. And it's a better set-up to easily institutionalize rules with regard what to do in remote work.


Maintain an Evolving Rule Handbook

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Maintain an Evolving Rule Handbook

It's easy to instruct people online when you are a few. But then, what if you scale your operations worldwide? You need a guide. And Gitlab has an evolving handbook to help their new and old employees alike to do their everyday tasks.


Focus on the Results

No one wants to be micromanaged. And with remote working, this is definitely an advantage. No boss to snoop around your back watching your every move. This freedom creates control for the workers to do their best.

But for the managers, it might not be as ideal. I mean, what if your remote workers are just playing around without getting things done. You may install software and all but you need to shift into a different mindset.

Focus on the results, not on the hours put in. If they can deliver the results regardless of what they do to arrive it, would it be the main thing that mattered? Put safeguards in place, but don't forget to trust your subordinates to deliver.


Institutionalize Social Connections

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Institutionalize Social Connections

The biggest drawback with remote working is isolation. You are just left with you and your computer every single day. You rarely meet anyone in person. Or talk to anyone even online for that matter. 

Gitlab puts emphasis on making social connections. And it's not just a random "I ping you out of nowhere" chat with a coworker. There is a deliberate process to undertake it. Your workers are given an environment where socialization is normal.

They have 10-15 min "Breakout calls" to talk about non-work related topics. "Coffee chats" to encourage people to do social calls to anyone in the company. They even have "visiting grants" a $150 subsidy and travel stipend when you arrange a meet-up with a coworker.

And they have more! It's in these simple things that hopefully alleviate the long-term negative effects of remote work. With the trajectory of Gitlab, it surely did.



There are a lot of factors to make a company successful. But then, with this remote working management tips, at least you are now covered with handling your virtual team.  

Now, onwards to your next improvement for your company. Who knows, you might be next in line after Sid. Good luck!


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