Remote: Office Not Required
First of all, I have to confess. I found this book used on Amazon for about $5 and bought it with the best of intentions to read through it word by word. Instead, I found it sitting on top of my “to read” stack which is growing. In an attempt to hack this problem, I signed up for a free trial of Audible.com. It allowed me to listen to the entire book in a matter of a few hours. Rather than reading every word, I made it a point to listen to every word and rewind when necessary. In my opinion, this hack was a success.
Even though I currently spend my days in the office (which is a great experience), there’s still a mountain of information to learn from the concept of working while not actually at work. This doesn’t mean doing work outside of work hours, but rather the idea of doing work (inside work hours) outside of the office building. This concept has been around for a while and it’s becoming a growing trend. Just look at any job board and notice the amount of times you see ‘Remote’ or ‘Anywhere’ listed for the location. It’s certainly not the norm but the trend is growing. This book by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson at 37 Signals goes far beyond making a case for remote work. These guys really dig into the treatment of people. After all, a company is only as good as the people who work there. If you treat your people well and take care of them, then you’ll reap the benefits of a great working environment and happy employees. This will all equate to a company that is a well-oiled machine creating excellent products.
The biggest takeaway I had was how the love of the people you work with can energize and inspire the group as a whole. It also highlights the importance of each employee’s role in the group. If you slack, everyone feels it. If you do a crappy job, it hurts everyone.
So, would I recommend it? Definitely. Even if you are not a remote worker and never plan to be, this book really puts in the perspective the responsibility of management and the team looking out for everyone as a whole.
If your 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.
When it’s all about the work, you can tell who’s pulling their weight and who is not.