Remote: Office Not Required is the new guidebook on how to enable remote work at your organization and thrive in a remote working environment. It requires a change in thinking about how work must get done, and provides practical advice on how it can be successfully implemented in your company whether you are a business owner, VP, manager, or individual contributor.
My favorite point
Communicating asynchronously is a cornerstone of remote work. Your team isn’t always “online” when you are, and if they are, they are probably doing something important. Don’t interrupt them. Instead, update the status of a project in your online collaboration tool; create a screen cast discussing a newly implemented feature; post in a team-only chat room; or even send an email. Let them get to it on their terms.
Remote covers a comprehensive set of personal, technical, and managerial topics that will help guide you and your organization to successful remote work:
The time is right for remote work - Somewhere in the world there is the perfect employee for your organization. This person is smart, motivated, personable, and can get things done, and chances are, does not live within driving distance of you.
Dealing with excuses
- “Big companies don’t do it”.
- “Only the office can be secure”.
- “People’s homes are full of distractions”.
- “If I can’t see them, how do I know they’re working?”.
All of these are common objections to remote work and are no longer valid. Learn how to respond to these criticisms and many more.
How to collaborate remotely - It is vital that team members’ daily schedules overlap to some degree in order to foster solid collaboration. Without overlap, standard communication on a project that should have taken hours can span multiple days. Ouch!
Beware the dragons - The problem with remote workers isn’t that they are lazy or don’t work enough. Quite the opposite - actually. Overwork, overweight, and an overgrown beard. There are real and unique pitfalls to working remotely, make sure you avoid them.
Hiring and keeping the best - Communication. Communication. Communication. Remote workers, more than anyone else have to be exceptional at written communication. You don’t have the benefit of voice inflection and body language to get you through a conversation. Writing well is mandatory for remote work success.
Managing remote workers - Plan some in-person meetups and work sprints to further improve team cohesion and productivity. Meet regularly with individual team members and make sure they aren’t being left out.
Life as a remote worker - This chapter covers how to stay happy as a remote worker. How to build a routine; use different devices for work and play; stay motivated; and improve quality time with your family.
Conclusion and The Remote Toolbox - Final thoughts and a list of utilities (most accompanied by a monthly subscription fee) that 37signals successfully uses to manage a company full of remote workers.
Where do I go from here?
From 2005 to 2011, remote work soared 73% to 3 million workers in the United States. -Global Workplace Analytics
The time is right for remote work, and it’s already happening everywhere in almost every industry. The new luxury in life is time, and remote work gives you the best chance to create a unique and rewarding life. Most people work their whole life to “retire and travel the world”. With remote work, you don’t have to wait, you can travel the world without sacrificing your career in the process.
Not convinced? Remember, remote work is not “all or nothing”. You can create your own experience from the wide range of technologies, schedule combinations, and locations that make sense for you. Check out Jason’s recent TED talk Why work doesn’t happen at work and see for yourself.