Book of the week - Remote by 37signals
There is a new book by 37signals and it’s called “Remote”. After “Rework” (my review here) I was very excited to be reading this book… especially that my company works remotely. I work from home. Everyone else as well. We actually have no office. Anyway, got the audiobook from Audible:
Before I dive into the book, let me just say two things.
- I finished my university degree in 2003 with a thesis on Virtual Enterprise and Teleworking… so the subject matter is known very well to me. Shortly thereafter I started my company with the goal of working remotely all of the time. This way I could travel, live in different parts of Europe and basically follow my wife’s career with my laptop (now the iPad :-)).
- Second thing, I love the 37signals guys. I got to know them through their second (now closed) service called “Backpack” and inspired by what they did I built Nozbe as a way of making a GTD-compatible Backpack.
So there you have it, I have a long history with both the subject matter and the authors. I actually visited them in Chicago to pay my tribute to them and interviewed Jason Fried for the Productive! Magazine. Now, back to the book:
The book is mostly about WHY… and that’s good.
Back in the day of me writing the thesis, Teleworking (or Telecommuting) was already a viable option, but now it’s even easier with the powerful laptops, tablets and most of all, faster Internet connections and great apps.
That’s why the focus of the book is more on the WHY you shouldn’t be stuck in the thinking that you HAVE to be in the same place to do the job together. The authors give great examples of all the reasons why you already might be working remotely with people (when you hire accountants, lawyers, etc.) without you realizing it… and why you should try it with your team. Because the majority of their team is working remotely, they give you compelling reasons as far as the benefits of remote work are concerned and how to get you started. And how to talk to your boss about it.
I think the target audience of the book is the old-school medium-sized company - both the employees and the bosses of such companies. By saying:
hey, we’re ~40 people with one small office in Chicago and lots of people all over the map, and we’re pulling it off successfully - you can do it, too. Talk to your boss, talk to your team, start today. Here’s why you should do it.
If you’re already working remotely, you know the tricks
This is the thing. The book is probably not for me or other people who have teams work remotely and are “all in” already. There’s a tip here and there but overall the book wasn’t meant for people like me. Which means that there might be a market for a book I was planning to write - a productivity tips and tricks book when working remotely. What do you say? Would you want one of these, too?
I’m glad David and Jason wrote the book
My takeaways from the book are two - first off, I feel more confident about having my team work remotely, I got a few tips here and there and even more connected with the authors. Second thing - the book raises awareness of remote work. Together with Marissa Mayer’s decision to pull remote workers back to the office and this book, people are now talking about remote work a lot more finally - which benefits both the companies that want to try it… and the employees who’d have a happier life being able to work remotely.
Should you read the book?
Totally. Even if you’re a seasoned remote guy like myself, you’ll find a few gems in the book. I did enjoy it. However if you’re thinking about working part time or full time remotely or you’re the boss contemplating this decision for your team… get the book and read it a few times. You’ll be glad you did.
Question: Are you working remotely? Have you ever tried it? Would you prefer to work in an office and commute… or work from home?