Readings Remote

Published on February 25th, 2014 | by Omar


Remote – Office not required

At my last job with 2Paths Solutions we believed in working from home for much of the week as a means of fulfilling the culture of having a good work-life balance. During the summers it was 5 days a week. During the rest of the year it was usually around 3 days a week. I found immense benefits from working from home.

  1. No 45 minute commute to the office
  2. Flexibility to manage my time accordingly during the day
  3. Being able to get work done without distractions of any sort

At EA two thirds of my team is located in Vancouver, BC, Canada the other third is located in Orlando, Florida, USA. Though technically they are located in an EA studio they could very well be located anywhere else and it would make little difference for me in specific. I visit every other month and talk to them over Google Hangout but I was looking for ways to make our  team feel more connected. So I through I’d read  Remote – Office not required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson to see if they had any insights on how to achieve more cohesiveness between a remote team.

Overall, the book is very well written (just like their first book Re-Work) and is organized into sections containing 5 to 7 chapters where each chapter is bite sized and straight to the point (2 to 3 pages each). The authors are owners of a software development firm named 37Signals who’s employees  largely work remotely across the US and in some cases abroad. Their motivation behind the book is to encourage others to overcome the fear of allowing people to work remotely. They make the good point that working in the office tends to be a crutch for most companies. That becomes very clear if you ask how productive people feel when they work in the office versus hiding away from their desk. They give several examples of large companies who have very large groups of their employees that work remotely and are thriving so as to make the point that we should all consider it.

For those who have worked remotely before, you’ll likely find most of the book mirroring your experiences. However, I personally had a few “ah ha” moments when reading the book.

  1. The importance of face time/communication with people working remotely
  2. Having touch points throughout the year where the entire team comes together
  3. How to drive culture and motivation within a remote team
  4. Legal considerations when having someone work in different countries or provinces/states
  5. Interviewing and hiring a remote worker
  6. The ability to gain access to a larger pool of talent if you go beyond your locale
  7. Working remotely with clients

I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is considering remote work as it not only highlights the benefits but also the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.

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One Response to Remote – Office not required

  1. Gary says:

    Thanks for your overview of the book, Omar. Interesting in your case that you didn’t have distractions when working from home….even though I have no kids at home anymore and i’m usually the only one, I find I focus better when in the office.

    Reading your blog reminded me also of our experiment with working with the South American dudes back in 2009.

    Take care,

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