Webinar Recap: How GitLab and thredUP achieve the same goals with different workplace strategies

Same goals, different approaches

When two companies have different approaches to how employees collaborate, get work done, and meet in person, it’s easy to assume they have different goals and targets too. In the case of thredUP and GitLab, that’s not the case.

Both of these companies share the values of employee participation, flexibility, and work-life balance, and both are output-driven organizations.

Their approaches differ because of the nature of how work gets done at each of the companies. Read on to hear how both tackled flexibility and what considerations led them to create different but equally progressive workplaces.

GitLab: Everyone can contribute

GitLab has been 100% remote since its inception 12 years ago, and its team is dispersed across 65 countries worldwide. Besides being trailblazers of remote work long before it was mainstream, they’ve charted the path for other remote companies by writing and publishing a publicly available remote work handbook documenting all their processes and policies.

Their culture, mission, and values are extensively documented and encourage employees to practice one of their core values – everyone can contribute – in day-to-day work. And while the employees don’t get a vote when it comes to the company being remote, they do have plenty of choice in how they get work done, collaborate with intention, and contribute to policies that impact them through the handbook.

The handbook isn’t just a repository for them: it acts as an idea generator and a living document, as any employee can put in a merge request to submit a new idea or policy in a way that feels natural to their employees.

“What I've learned is just because we've done it one way in other companies doesn't mean we need to continue doing it that way. We've gotten some amazing ideas from people who don't have a people background, and it has been instrumental to our innovation. That's exciting for me as a leader.” -Pattie Egan, GitLab

thredUP: Managing flexibility with an in-person workforce

At thredUP, 75% of their workforce are distribution center workers who need to be on-site daily to do their work. This could create a divide in the company, but instead, it creates a touchstone for how they make decisions: How can they ensure all their employees feel like they’re treated well in their respective roles?

Natalie Breece, CPO of ThredUp’s answer? A four-day workweek and flexibility where they can provide it, though they require three days a week in their corporate office.

“Some roles need to be completed in person, so maybe we can't have partially remote work. But could we have a 4-day work week? The ultimate thing is employees want to feel like they have some say and that there is some flexibility. So can we create similar kinds of dynamics within a different environment? That’s the approach: to create a bespoke policy that hits at the same things the employees want on both sides of the workforce.” -Natalie Breece, thredUP

Considering that a significant majority of their employees don’t have the possibility to do their work remotely in any capacity, thredUP decided to enact one of their values, in-person collaboration, by deploying a hybrid model with fixed office days every week. However, to ensure the value of flexibility and work-life balance came through, they rolled out a four-day workweek, an experiment they continue to iterate and take feedback on.

The results: Happy employees and successful companies

At both of these companies, employees don’t always get what they want in terms of policies and workplace strategies. But the people leaders work to make sure employees feel seen and heard.

See other examples of great workplace strategies

Designing and deploying workplace strategies can be confusing and complex even for the best people leaders, and seeing how others do it can help you hone your ideas and get inspired.

Download our Workplace Strategy Guide and see examples of different policies, trade-offs, metrics to track, and more.

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Liza Mash Levin
CEO & Co-founder @gable