Cover of book Remote: Office Not Required

Remote: Office Not Required

by: David Heinemeier Hansson, Jason Fried

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  • The ability to be alone with your thoughts is, in fact, one of the key advantages of working remotely.
  • When face time isn't a requirement, the best strategy is often to take some time away and get back to work when your brain is firing on all cylinders.
  • The luxury privilege of the next twenty years will be to leave the city. Not as its leashed servant in a suburb, but to whereever one wants.
  • The new luxury is to shed the shackles of deferred living - to pursue your passions now, while you're still working.
  • As Sir Richard Branson commented in his ode to working remotely: 'To successfully work with other people, you have to trust each other. A big part of this is trusting people to get their work done wherever they are, without supervision.
  • Keep in mind, the number one counter to distraction is interesting, meaningful work.
  • Sometimes, distractions can actually serve a purpose. Like the proverbial canary in the coal min, they warn us - when we feel ourselves regularly succumbing to them - that our work is not well-defined, or our tasks are menial, or the whole project we're engaged in is fundamentally pointless.
  • Most people want to work, as long as it's stimulating and fulfillign. And if you're stuck in a deade-end job that has no prospects of being either, then you don't just need a remote position - you need a new job.
  • At 37 signals, we've found that we need a good four hours of overlap to avoid collaboration delays and feel like a team.
  • Look at your progress toward the end of the day and ask yourself: 'Have I done a good day's work?'
  • And should the answer be 'no', you can treat is as an off-day and explore the Five Why's (asking why to a problem five times in a row to find the root cause).
    It feels good to be productive. If yesterday was a good day's work, chances are you'll stay on a roll. And if you can stay on a roll, everything else will probably take care of itself - including not working from when you get up in the morning until you go to sleep.
  • Working with clients

    First, when pitching businesses, let the prospective client know up front that you don't live where they live. You want to begin building trust right at the beginning.

    Second, provide references before the client even asks.

    Third, show them work often. This is the best way to chip away at a client's natural situational anxiety.

    Fourth, be very available. Since you can't meet face to face, you better return phone calls, emails, instant messages, etc. This is basic business stuff, but it's tenfold more important when youo're working remotely.

    Lastly, get the client involved and let them follow along. Make sure they feel that this is their project too.

  • This is exactly how it works if you're a remote worker wanting to work for a company in a foreign country. Set up that personal company and bill your 'salary' as invoices every month.
  • On top of all that, be mindful of language barriers. With remote work, most communication is written. Many people who can get by with so-so language skills in the spoken realm fall flat when it comes to the written word.
  • As online accounting service FreeAgent learned: 'Getting used to having deep extensive discussions over email or Basecamp was tricky. Learning to get the tone of your messages right can be a challenge - it's all too easy to come across in the wrong way, especially when you haven't really got to know each other and we did this all too frequently for a while.'

    The old adage still applies: No assholes allowed. But for remote work, you need to extend it to no asshole-y behavior allowed, no drama allowed, no bad vibes allowed

  • You should read, read, and read some more. Study how good writers make their case. Focus on clarity first, style second.
    On writing well - William Zinsser
    The Elements of Style - Strunk & White
    Revising Prose - Richard Lanham
  • If there's an ideal training regimen for remote workers, it's being a contractor for a while. As a contractor, you have to be able to set a reasonable schedule, show good progress at regular intervals, and convert an often fuzzy definition of the work into a deliverable. All these are skills perfectly suited for remote work.
  • Flexibility is your friend here. Remote isn't binary. It's not here or there, this or that. In fact, for many, the hybrid approach is the right place to start. If you still want people in the office everyday, change that requirement to every afternoon instead. Then let your troops have their mornings to themselves.[;
  • Rather, the only reliable way to muster motivation is by encouraging people to work on the stuff they like and care about, with people they like and care about. There are no short cuts.
  • If you are working remotely and find yourself taking a week to do a day's work, that's a flashing red light and it should be heeded. The sooner you act on that message, the better.
  • It's the person bored with a project that's not challenging enough, or are they feeling stuck and, in reaction, procrastinating to avoid a situation that feels impossible?
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