I just finished the book Remote: Office Not Required written by the talented founders of 37 signals. This book was a must read as soon as it came out for me as I’m gearing up to be full time remote the beginning of next year. I’m working on a few startups as the developer and need to make sure communicate is as close to perfect as possible. I hope I will build out remote teams for these companies since I see that as the best suited style to have work completed. There are many negative nancies who dislike remote work which is quite upsetting. They believe remote work is harder to communicate ideas, employees get sidetracked / lose focus, and of course they don’t feel “in command” since they can’t stand over their employees and delegate tasks.
For older generations, it’s hard to embrace current technology as a replacement for in person meetings but realistically what do some of these meetings accomplish? How much is lost in meetings that isn’t written down? Communication is best when it’s retained throughout the entire life cycle of a question / comment / discussion / idea. What I mean is… say you talk about a great feature to add to an app. You send an email to the team talking about your great idea. Your co-worker walks up to on a non-remote job and chimes in how X Y and Z are reasons why this won’t work. You agree and drop the feature idea. You run to lunch and then dive into other work for that day. What did you miss? You missed him communicating his reasons to the rest of the team.
Now you find out other employees already pitched that idea to clients to see if that’s something they would use. The clients love it and want it ASAP! You’re in quite the pickle now. If this was a team of all remote workers everything is recorded in email, text, chat, etc. As long as they didn’t pick up the phone or skype video chat you…it’s saved somewhere. Imagine that same employee forgot what he told you and so did you but you remembered there was something wrong with it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been in this situation more than a dozen times.
Remote work keeps communication and work as the forefront of the business. There isn’t a who dressed the best today, who is taking a long break, who came in late, or any other ridiculous unimportant detail anymore. Your work will either prove to your manager you are working or not. They can gauge productivity based on your situation alone. Okay now that I’m done with my stance on remote work, let’s get back to the book. It’s a quick read that’s perfect for your commute you wish you weren’t doing twice a day. The book will provide you with enough ammunition to pitch it at your current job. The author goes into great detail with steps of how to valid common remote issues. Think of it as the initial guidebook to remote work.