Yesterday, GitLab had their ‘Remote’ conference. I blocked out some time to attend in order to glean what I could and network a bit.
There were several talks, which you can watch on-demand here. Most of the talks were about selling the idea of remote work or research around remote work, as well as a few on how companies performed their transition. I got the feeling we would have been able to get more out of the conference as a speaker, so maybe next year we should see about submitting a talk, as the conference felt overall a pitch for remote work, and that’s something we were already sold on.
Some of the talks, however, were more about ways of solving issues common in remote companies, like ensuring casual/social interaction, creating an ergonomic and pleasant home office, and organizational creativity and learning.
The conference also had ‘coffee-chats’, which were basically a private chat-roulette. It was pretty buggy but I got to meet several interesting people when it worked, like a guy who’s doing a podcast for We Work Remotely, a remote jobs board. (In fact-- I’m pretty sure it’s the same guy that reached out to us a while back, @gabriel.) There was also a kid that was making an app to aggregate all of the courses you’re taking from different places into one portal. I told him to finish his schooling and send us an application
I’ve also made a contact at GitLab which I hope to follow up with later to figure out how we might collaborate with them, especially for the sake of the Open Source contributor course and figuring out how we might be able to help them with LMS services, possibly.
One particularly interesting thing which came up a few times is that there is now an industry around providing worldwide remote workers with benefits packages. I don’t know if they’ve found a way to make it make sense for all-contractor groups like ourselves, but it might be worth looking into, since group discounts for things can be useful, although I think most of us would prefer to make sure that if we were to use such a system that it remains a la carte and optional. I can’t remember the names of any of them, so I’m asking one of the contacts I got if any of them remember, and will update this thread if so (or else I find them.)
Edit: Found them. Remote.com, Lets Deel and Safety Wing. Of these, Safety Wing looks like the only one which is properly compatible with our structure and they only cover health. So not sure this type of service is ready for us, yet.