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Remote: Office Not Required Hardcover – Illustrated, October 29, 2013
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“A paradigm-smashing, compulsively readable case for a radically remote workplace.”—Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of Quiet
Does working from home—or anywhere else but the office—make sense? In Remote, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of Basecamp, bring new insight to the hotly debated argument. While providing a complete overview of remote work’s challenges, Jason and David persuasively argue that, often, the advantages of working “off-site” far outweigh the drawbacks.
In the past decade, the “under one roof” model of conducting work has been steadily declining, owing to technology that is rapidly creating virtual workspaces. Today the new paradigm is “move work to the workers, rather than workers to the workplace.” Companies see advantages in the way remote work increases their talent pool, reduces turnover, lessens their real estate footprint, and improves their ability to conduct business across multiple time zones. But what about the workers? Jason and David point out that remote work means working at the best job (not just one that is nearby) and achieving a harmonious work-life balance while increasing productivity.
And those are just some of the perks to be gained from leaving the office behind. Remote reveals a multitude of other benefits, along with in-the-trenches tips for easing your way out of the office door where you control how your workday will unfold.
Whether you’re a manager fretting over how to manage workers who “want out” or a worker who wants to achieve a lifestyle upgrade while still being a top performer professionally, this book is your indispensable guide.
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“Presents powerful arguments . . . the book is an eye opener to the endless benefits that come with remote work. . . . A worthwhile investment of your times and money.”—Tech Vibes
“Remote is the book that twenty-first century business leaders have been waiting for: a paradigm-smashing, compulsively readable case for a radically remote workplace. If you're intrigued by extreme teleworking, but have your doubts, Remote is the place to address them. Not a day goes by that I don't think about, talk about, and actually apply the insights in this game-changing book."—Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of Quiet
"What you'll find in Remote is profound advice from guys who've succeeded in the virtual workforce arena. This is a manifesto for discarding stifling location- and time-based organizational habits in favor of best work practices for our brave new virtual and global world. If your organization entrusts you with the responsibility to get things done, this is a must-read.”—David Allen, internationally bestselling author of Getting Things Done
“Remote is the way I work and live. Now I know why. If you work in an office, you need to read this remarkable book, and change your life.”—Richard Florida, author of the national bestseller The Rise of the Creative Class
“In the near future, everyone will work remotely, including those sitting across from you. You'll need this farsighted book to prepare for this inversion.”—Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick for Wired Magazine and author of What Technology Wants
“Leave your office at the office. Lose the soul-sapping commutes. Jettison the workplace veal chambers and banish cookie-cutter corporate culture. Smart, convincing and prescriptive, Remote offers a radically more productive and satisfying office-less future, better for all (well, except commercial landlords).”—Adam L. Penenberg, author of Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today’s Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves
“Fried and Hansson show how remote working sets people free—free from drudgery and free to unleash unprecedented creativity and productivity. This workday disruption is necessary if we want to use our new digital tools to full effect. The first gift copy I buy will be for my boss!”
—James McQuivey, PhD, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, and author of Digital Disruption
“Just like we couldn't imagine a cell phone smaller than a toaster in the 1970’s, some companies still believe that they can't get great performance from their employees unless they show up at an office. Virtual work is the wave of the future, and Jason and David do a brilliant job of teaching best practices for both employees and employers."—Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation
“Jason and David convincingly argue the merits of remote work, both from the perspective of manager and of worker. For the former, working remotely means more productive teams. For the latter, there is the ultimate luxury: control over one’s environment. Remote work gives you the power to craft your own life, and this book is a roadmap to get that.”—Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist
“The decentralization of the workplace is no longer fodder for futurists, it's an everyday reality. Remote is an insight-packed playbook for thriving in the coming decade and beyond."—Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative
“Remote shows you how to remove the final barrier to doing the work you were meant to do, with the people you were meant to do it with, in the most rewarding and profitable way possible—this book is your ticket to real freedom!”—John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide
About the Author
- Publisher : Currency; Illustrated edition (October 29, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0804137501
- ISBN-13 : 978-0804137508
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.75 x 0.97 x 8.54 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #94,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
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Top reviews from the United States
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With COVID-19, a lot of us were forced into a remote situation and have learned the benefits because there was no choice.
I was looking for more advice on the implementation of remote processes like onboarding new hires, team building, and general tips. You won’t find that here.
To get work done we needed groups of people in the same place at the same time. To be at work at the same time, 8:30 to 4:30, people needed to live close to their workplaces. Towns grew into cities and housing grew upward. Those who could not or would not live close to their workplaces spend more time in traffic.
This book raises the issues of whether we all need offices. Why don’t we work from the place most convenient to us that day, at a time most convenient to us that day. The issue of remote and asynchonomous work could not be realistically raised ten years ago, but can certainly be today. We now have all the enabling technology to allow many types of work to be performed remotely. This includes the obvious call centre staff, but also the specialist repairman who can perform his work from afar.
“Office not required,” the subtitle of this book, is not the future, the authors argue, it is the present.
Why would anyone want to work remotely? There a many compelling reasons not least the wasted time spent on your daily commute. Stop and calculate the number of hours each week you spend getting to work. You could also add in the time it takes to get to clients for meetings. Then ask yourself what you would do with the time saved by not travelling.
So, why do we not work remotely? Some types of office work cannot be done remotely, and that is not at issue. The issue is that much work can be done remotely.
Before I pursue the argument for remote work further, let me answer the question of why large, thoughtful companies, are not doing it. The answer is they are. IBM, for example, has had their staff telecommuting since 1995 with a saving on office space of 7.2 million square metres.
The authors offer various reasons for the resistance to remote work.
A common argument is that innovation only happens through the magic of face to face contact. Let us presume for a moment that it is true and that creativity requires a group of people to be in the same place at the same time. How much time is spent creativity solving big problems? Very little, most of our time at work is spent executing the “big problems” and that can be done in so many cases, remotely.
Even if there is a need for people to be together to work on issues, only a few moments on Skype or FaceTime is enough to establish who is present. Thereafter most of the work will be conducted on a shared computer screen where designs, text, or numbers are formulated and manipulated. These modes of collaboration are relatively low tech and inexpensive to use.
Many are afraid that people cannot be trusted to be productive at home. The fact is that people can come to work and not be productive either. The real difference between coming to work and staying at home to work is little more than whether you wear a T-shirt or a dress shirt.
As the authors point out: “If you can’t let your employees work from home out of fear they’ll slack off without your supervision, you’re a babysitter, not a manager. Remote work is very likely the least of your problems.”
An argument against remote work is the effect it would have on the company culture which would wither away. Remote work is not an “all or nothing” type choice. Staff can be brought together a few times a week or a month to connect and preserve the culture. It is also worth noting that “culture” is not embodied in the company events, but in the manner in which the company works. It manifests in the behaviour of staff to one another, in the manner of treating customers, in the quality of work accepted, and so on. None of these culture building blocks are absent if people work remotely.
The real question any discussion on remote work would need to address is why bother with the question of staff working remotely at all?
I have already mentioned the time wasted on your daily commute to the office, but there also many work related issues.
Where do you go when you want to do serious work? Very few people answer to the office without the qualification – very early in the morning, before anyone gets in, or after everyone leaves, or on weekends.
Offices have become “interruption factories,” observe the authors. When a colleague is only a step away why not ask for information or an opinion or a document, now. If you were working remotely, would you send an email or a sms, or if it is really urgent, make phone for the same request.
Of course, there are interruptions at home or in a coffee shop, but these are interruptions you can control more easily than a manager or colleague.
Remote work allows, in many cases, for better quality work. “Squeezing slightly more words per hour out of a copywriter is not going to make anyone rich. Writing the best ad just very well might,” the authors note.
Not having to live in Johannesburg to work for a firm in Johannesburg could be a huge incentive for someone who enjoys the more gentle life in the Paarl. For the firm it allows the search for talent to extend much wider than the immediate surroundings of the office. There is talent scattered all around the country and the world.
Provided the type of work you do does not require you to be present at the office, there is no longer any compelling reason for being there all the time. The most difficult challenge many only be the mental shift – you are still working even if you don’t have an office.
Readability Light --+-- Serious
Insights High -+--- Low
Practical High -+--- Low
Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy
I got the book because COVID-19 has driven me and my co-workers to social distancing by working from home. I'm finding telecommuting to be easier to implement than I expected.
Trust is a central theme in the book. A second theme is culture or what I characterize as knowing what's expected. A good remote worker or telecommuters must produce good work. The authors also argue that half-hearted efforts at remote work will likely fail.
Who ought to read this book? If social distancing impacts your workplace, then, whether you are a manager or worker, this book has useful lessons for you. Currently, I can see where remote working may become much more common than it has been. I strongly recommend the book.
One head's up, the authors head the company that created the base camp software and base camp is mentioned frequently. I simply viewed this as establishing the authors' credentials and I wasn't bothered by this. I don't use basecamp myself.
My first opportunity arose to work for a company with remote option. After 15 years of commuting and chained to a beige cubical I was free. I was now able to do engaging work and deliver without having to come into the office. I even found that I was also able to be more productive.
This book is a great primer for understanding the concept of what today’s technology facilitates. From a company perspective, your employee selection opens up from the local market to all corners of the world. For employees it allows you to save time from commuting and spend that extra time with your family promoting even better work life balance. This is the future of work for knowledge workers.
As a business owner you will gain insights on the benefits of remote work. As a manager you will gain tools to facilitate remote staff. As a remote worker you will learn additional strategies to address common concerns.
The TL;DR: your culture needs to switch from meetings to writing
Top reviews from other countries
Home so it can continue in the future. Some of the tools are a bit outdated now (no mention of zoom for example) but other that this book is entirely relevant for now.
I was looking for something with more focus on how to help / improve for existing remote teams and workers.