In the week leading up to the end of the year break, a period usually reserved for “crunch time” overworking before a holiday in a traditional company, I had a killer migraine. Instead of trying to find a place to hide and stressing over what meetings I could ditch, I did the only thing I needed to do to take care of myself — I logged off and laid down. There were no questions from my colleagues, no hiding in small dark closets, no need to go home. About 30 minutes later, I was back at my desk and working.
The reason my story was clear and simple is that at an all-remote company like GitLab, we work asynchronously, or whenever you feel you’ll do your best work. Because of this, the volume of meetings is low and helps us prioritize documenting work and processes so that others can review them when they’ve identified the best time for their workday. In fact, this workflow is outlined in our Remote Manifesto.
Because we work asynchronously and default to documentation, I was able to log off and disappear for the time I needed to recover. There was no added stress or anxiety around figuring out how I was going to bail on a meeting or where I was going to hide, eliminating the co-occurring mental and physical health concerns that drive instability in my wellbeing. If I had been working synchronously in a co-located setting, my quick recovery would not have been possible.