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Remote by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson – Remarks

Posted by Raul Barral Tamayo en jueves, 19 de marzo, 2020

Copyright ©37signals, LLC 2013

The founders of Basecamp explore the “work from home” phenomenon and show precisely how a remote work setup can be accomplished.

The Industrial Revolution’s “under one roof” model of conducting work is steadily declining as technology creates virtual workspaces that allow employees to provide their vital contribution without physically clustering together. Today, the new paradigm is “move work to the workers, rather than workers to the workplace.”

Remote work increases the talent pool, reduces turnover, lessens the real estate footprint, and improves the ability to conduct business across multiple time zones, to name just a few advantages. As Fried and Hansson explain the challenges and unexpected benefits of this phenomenon, they show why—with a few controversial exceptions such as Yahoo–more businesses will want to promote this model of getting things done.

Jason Fried is the cofounder and president of Basecamp (formerly 37signals), a privately held Chicago-based company committed to building the best web-based tools possible with the least number of features necessary.

David Heinemeier Hansson is a partner at Basecamp (formerly 37signals), a privately held Chicago-based company committed to building the best web-based tools possible with the least number of features necessary.

Comments extracted from the book, they could be right or wrong, you decide for yourself:

  • At the end of February 2013 when Yahoo! announced that they were dismantling their remote-work program, just as we were finishing this book. All of a sudden, remote work moved from academic obscurity to a heated global conversation. Hundreds, if not thousands, of news articles were written, and controversy was in the air. Every single excuse you’ll find in the eassy titled «Dealing with excuses» got airtime during the Yahoo! firestorm.
  • We don’t think Yahoo! made the right choice, but we thank them for the spotlight they’ve shone on remote work.
  • What we’ve provided here is an in-the-trenches analysis of the pros and cons, a guide to the brave new world of remote work.
  • William Gibson: «The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed».
  • The tecnology is here; it’s never been easier to communicate and collaborate with people anywhere, any time. But that still leaves a fundamental people problem. The missing upgrade is for the human mind.
  • If you ask people where they go when they really need to get work done, very few will responde «the office».
  • Offices have become interruption factories.
  • It’s incredibly hard to get meaningful work done when you workday has been shredded into work moments.
  • In the modern office long stretches just can’t be found. Instead, it’s just one interruption after another.
  • The ability to be alone with your thoughts is one of the key advantages of working remotely.
  • Working outside the office has its ownb set of challenges. And interruptions can come from different places, multiples angles. But here’s the thing: those interruptions are things under your control. Your place, your zone, is yours alone.
  • Nobody likes commuting.
  • Long commutes make you fat, stressed, and miserable. Even short commutesw stag at your happiness.
  • Four hundred hours is exactly the amount of programmer time we spent building Basecamp, our most popular product.
  • Commuting isn’t just bad for you, your relatioships, and the environment, it’s bad for business.
  • Past generations have been bred on the idea that good work happens from 9am to 5pm, in offices and cubicles in tall buildings around the city. It’s no wonder that most who are employed inside that model haven’t considered other options, or resits the idea that it could be any different. But it can.
  • The great thing about technology, and even working remotely, is that it’s all up to you. It’s not rocket science, and learning the tools that make it possible won’t take that long either.
  • The big transition with a distributed workforce is going from synchronous to asynchronous collaboration.
  • At 37signals, we try to keep a roughly forty-hour workweek, but how our employees distribute those hours across the dock and days just isn’t important.
  • A company that is efficiently built around remote work doesn’t even have to have a set scheduloe.
  • Naturally, not all work ca be done entirely free of schedule restrictions. At 37signals, we offer customber support to people on American business hours, so it’s important our customer support team is available during that tiem. But even within those constraints, relaxed schedules are still a possibility so long as the group as a whole is covering the full spectrum.
  • The population-density benefits that suited factories proved  great for lots of other things too. We got libraries, stadiums, theaters, restaurants, and all the other wonders of modern culture and civilization. But we also got cubicles, tiny apartments, and sardine boxes to take us from here to there. We traded the freedom and splendor of country land and fresh air for convenience and excitement.
  • If we now have unlimited access to culture and entertainment from any location, why are we still willing to live bound by the original deal?
  • Here’s a prediction: The luxury privilige of  the next twenty years will be to leave the city. Not as its leashed servant in a suburb, but to wherever one wants.
  • Why wait? If what you really love doing is skiing, why wait until your hips are too old to take a hard fall and then move to Colorado?
  • The new luxury is to shed the shackles of deferred living, to pursue your passions now, while you’re still working. What’s the point in wasting time daydreaming about how great it’ll be when you finally quit? Your life no longer needs to be divided into arbitrary phases of work and retirement.
  • Great talent is everywhere and not everyone wants to move to San Francisco.
  • Letting people work remotely is about promoting quality of life, about getting access to the best people wherever they are, and all the other benefits we’ll enumerate.
  • Squeezing slightly more words per hour out of a copywriter is not going to make anyone rich. Writing the best ad just very well might.
  • Remote work isn’t primarily about the money, but who doesn’t liek saving as a side effect?
  • Embracing remote work doesn’t mean you can’t have an office, just that it’s not required. It doesn’t mean that all your employees can’t live in the same city, just that they don’t have to. Remote work is about setting your team free bo te the best it can be, wherever that might be.
  • Acknowledging that the office is there to impress clients sets an owner or manager free to make it the best theater experience it can be, and employees can remain free to work from home when they’re not needed as extras for the scene.
  • Remote work is not without cost or compromise. In this world very few leaps of progress arrive exclusively as benefits.
  • At first, giving up seeing your coworkers in person every day might come as a relief (if you’are an introvert), but eventually you’re likely to feel a loss.
  • It requires a new level of personal commitment to come up with (and stick with) an alternative work frame. That’s more responsability than may be apparent at first, especially for natural procrastinators, and who isn’t from time to time.
  • Why do so many companies that trust «outsiders» to do their critical work have such a hard time trusting «insiders» to work from home?
  • People go to the office all the time and act as though they’re working remotely: emailing, instant messaging, secluding themselves to get work done. At the end of the day, was it really worth coming to the office for it?
  • Most work is not coming up with The Next Big Thing. Rather, it’s making better the thing you already thought of six months (or six years) ago. It’s the work of work.
  • A stuffed backlog is a stale backlog.
  • You’d be amazed how much quality collective thought can be captured using two simple tools: a voice connection and a shared screen.
  • By rationing in-person meetings, their stature is elevated to that of a rare treat. They become something to be savored, something special.
  • Most fears that have to do with people working remotely stem from a lack of trust. Coming into the office just means that people have to put on pants. There’s no guarantee of productivity.
  • If you run your ship with the conviction that everyone’s a slacker, your employees will put all their ingenuity into proving you right. If you view those who work under you as capable adults who will push themselves to excel even when you’re not breathing down their necks, they’ll delight you in return.
  • We employ team members who are skilled professionals, capable of managing their own schedules and making a valuable contribution to the organization. We have no desire to be babysitters during the day.
  • If you 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. Remote work is very likely the least of your problems.
  • You shouldn’t hire people you don’t trust, or work for bosses who don’t trust you.
  • Either learn to trust the people you’re working with of find some other people to work with.
  • How can you possibly get anything done at home? Simple: because you’ve got a job to do and you’re a responsible adult.
  • The humber one counter to distractions is interesting, fulfilling work.
  • Sometimes, distractions can actually server a purpose. Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, 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.
  • If you’re sitting in a dedicated room intended for work with the door closed, you stand a far better change of staying on task.
  • Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean that it always has to be from your house. You can work from a coffee shop or the library or even the park.
  • Most people what to work, as long as it’s stimulating and fulfilling. And if you’re stuck in a dead-end job that has no prospects of being either, then you don’t just need a remote position, you need a new job.
  • Security is a big and serious deal, but it’s also largely a solved problem.
  • At 37signals, we’ve devised a simple security checklist all employees must follow:
    1. All computers must use hard drive encryption. This ensures that a lost laptop is merely an inconvenience and an insurance claim, not a company-wide emergency.
    2. Disable automatic login, require a password when waking from sleep, and set the computer to automatically lock after ten inactive minutes.
    3. Turn on encryption for all sites you visit, specially critical services like Gmail. These days all sites use something called HTTPS or SSL.
    4. Make sure all smartphones and tablets use lock codes and can be wiped remotely.
    5. Use a unique, generated, long-form password for each site you visit, kept by password-managing software, such as 1Password.
    6. Turn on two-factor authentication when using Gmai, so you can’t log in without having access to your cell phone for a login code.
  • Jellyvision asks their Fortune 500 customers not to schedule meetings with them before 10am to better fit remote workers in different time zones.
  • Being available for a one-off 11pm or 5am must-do phone call is a small price to pay for the freedom of remote work.
  • Many big businesses get away with staggering amounts of inefficiency and bureaucracy and seem fine for years.
  • Breaking routine is never without struggle. Fighting the established wisdom of the day is never a free ride. Fortunately, some big companies already get it.
  • It’s true that some jobs simply aren’t a good fit for remote execution. But so what? Why force everyone in the organization to work the same way?
  • The stronger the culture, the less explicit training and supervision is needed.
  • You certainly don’t need everyone physically together to create a strong culture.
  • The best cultures derive from actions people actually take, not the ones they write about in a mission statement.
  • Newcomers to an organization arrive with their eyes open. They see how decisions are made, the care that’s taken, the way problems are fixed, and so forth.
  • When everyone is sitting in the same office, it’s easy to fall into the habit of bothering anyone for anything at any time, with no regard for personal productivity. This is a key reason so many people get so little done in traditional office setups, too many interruptions.
  • It takes recognizing that not every question needs an answer inmediatly. That means realizing that not everything is equally important.
  • Questions you can wait hours to learn the answers to are fine to put in an email. Questions that require answers in the next few minutes can go into an instant message. For crises that truly merit a sky-is-falling designation, you can use that old-fashioned invention called the telephone.
  • Breaking your and others’ addiction to ASAP won’t come without withdrawal. You’ll be frustrated the first couple days as your brain adjusts to matching interactions with others to the appropiate medium. Handling 80 percent of your questions with email won’t work out well if you get upset when people don’t answer within ten minutes.
  • A lot of the arguments against working remotely are based on the fear of losing control. There’s something primal about being able to see your army.
  • To a lot of people, being the big boss is about achieving such control. It’s woven into their identity. The thinking goes, If I can see them, I can control them.
  • Reptilian resistance is not rational but deeply emotional (even instinctual) the excuse «but I’ll lose control» is the toughest to overcome.
  • Sunk cost means that the money spent on the office is already spent. Whoever paid for it is not getting it back whether it’s being used or not. So, rationally, the only thing that matters regarding where to work is whether the office is a more productive place or not. That’s it.
  • There are really very few industries left in which working remotely can categorically be ruled out. Don’t let «industry fit» be the lame excuse that prevents remote work from happening at your company.
  • Working remotely, if it is to be successful, usually requires some overlap with the hours your coworkers are putting in.
  • At 37signals, we’ve found that we need a good four hours of overlap to avoid collaboration delays and feel like a team.
  • It’s more of a challenge if, say, you’re in Chicago working with someone in Copenhagen. That seven-hour time difference is something 37signals had to learn to cope with. There was no easy way around it; we just had to compromise. We did it with Copenhagen working from 11am to 7pm (local time) and Chicago working from 8am to 5pm, just enough for the key four hours of intersection.
  • You’ll probably get far more done when only half of your workday overlaps with the rest of your team.
  • Some of the disdain toward working remotely is based on the phallacy that all remote collaboration happens blindfolded. Fortunately, it’s an easy problem to fix. WebEx, GoToMeeting, Join.me, and similar tools all make it simple to share a screen.
  • When someone wants to demostrate a new feature they’re working on at 37signals, often the easiest way is to record a screencast and narrate the experience. A screencast is basically just a recording of your screen that others can play back later as a movie. Don’t worry about trying to make it perfect, either. Just let the tape roll and it’ll be more than «good enough».
  • We also use a shared calendar, so we know when Andrea’s coming back from maternity leave of Jeff’s going on vacation. If your company is too large to share one calendar, break it up by teams.
  • The point is to avoid locking up important stuff in a single person’s computer or inbox. Put all the important stuff out in the open, and no one will have to chase that wild goose go get their work done.
  • Working remotely can provide a terrific boost to productivity. Fewer interruptions, more work done!
  • Eight houts straight of work is not they utopia managers might think it is. We all need mindless breaks, and it helps if you spend some of them with your team.
  • At 37signals, we use a chat programa we created called Campfire. The idea is to have a single, permanent chat room where everyone hangs out all day to shoot the breeze, post funny pictures, and generally goof around. Its primary function is to provide social cohesion.
  • To instill a sense of company cohesion and to share forward motion, everyone needs to feel that they’re in the loop. At 37signals we’ve institutionalized this through a weekly discussion thread with the subject «What have you been working on?» Everyone chimes in with a few lines about what they’ve done over the past week and what’s intended for the next week.
  • We all have a natural instinct to avoid letting our team down, so when that commitment becomes visual, it gets reinforced.
  • It’s a lot harder to bullshit your peers than your boss.
  • One of the secret benefits of hiring remote workers is that the work itself becomes the yardstick to judge someone’s performance.
  • When it’s all about the work, it’s clear who in the company is pulling their weight and who isn’t.
  • Remote just means you’re not in the office 9am-5pm, all day long.
  • Forcing everyone into the office every day is an organizational SPoF (Single Point of Failure). If the office loses power or Internet or air conditioning, it’s no longer functional as a place to do work.
  • Most of the time when you hear people imagining why remote work won’t work, they’ll point to two things in particular: One, you can’t have face-to-face meetings when people aren’t in the office. And two, managers can’t tell if people are getting work done if they can’t see them working.
  • The further away you are from meetings and managers, the more work gets done.
  • Meetings are major distractions.
  • They’re essential. But management, like meetings, should be used sparingly. Since managers are often the people who call the meetings, their very presence leads to less productive workdays.
  • Working remotely makes it easier to spot managers drumming up busywork for themselves and others.
  • Hell might be the other people, but isolation sure ain’t heaven. We’re simply not designed for a life of  total solitude.
  • One of the key insights we’ve gained through many years of r emote work is that human interaction does not have to come from either coworkers or others in your industry. Sometimes, even more satisfying interaction comes from spending time with your spouse, your children, your family, your friends, your neighbours: people who can all be thousands of miles away from your office, but right next to you.
  • If you don’t have friends of family nearby, you can still make it work; you’ll just have to exert a little more effort. For example, find a co-working facility and share desks with others in your situation.
  • Remote work doesn’t mean being chained to your home-office desk.
  • A manager’s natural instinct is to worry about his workers not getting enought work done, but the real threat is that too much will likely get done.
  • At 37signals, we expect and encourage to work forty hours per week on average. There are no hero awards for putting in more than that. Sure, every now and then there’s the need for a short sprint, but, most of the time, the company is viewing what it does as a marathon. It’s crucial  for everyone to pace themselves.
  • One way to help set a healthy boundary is to encourage employees to think of a «good day’s work».
  • If you’re going to make a real go at working from home for the long term, you’ll need to get the ergonomic basics right. That means getting a proper desk (height adjustable?), a proper chair (Humanscale Liberty?), and a proper screen (27 inches in high resolution!).
  • Your body wasn’t built to stay in the same position for eight hours a day, but it’s hard to switch things around in most normal office settings.
  • When you don’t have to dress to impress, there’s no shame in indulging your inner slob, at least part of  the time.
  • At 37signals, we try our best to encourage our remote workers to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Everyone gest a $100 monthly stipend for a health club membership, and we cover the cost of weekly fresh fruit and vegetable deliveries from local farmers.
  • You can’t experiment with working remotely by sending one or two people to Siberia. To give it a proper try, you need to set free at least an entire team. And then you need to give it longer than it takes to break in a new pair of shoes.
  • There’ll be days when you hate it, your boss hates it, and everyone else you’re working with hates it. Just like there are days working at the office where you wish you could just turn everyone else into silent garden gnomes, so you can get a little work done. No work arrangement is without trade-offs.
  • When pitching businesses, let the prospective client know up front that you don’t live where they live. You want to being building trust right at the beginning. Provide references before the client even asks. Trust is going to be the toughest thing to build early on. Show them work often. Be very available. Since you can’t meet face-to-face, you better return phone calls, emails, instant messages, etc.
  • Fundamentally, there are two ways to hire people internationally: establish a local office or hire people as contractors.
  • Thinking internationally when it comes to worker recruitment doesn’t just drastically increase the size of the talent pool; it also makes you better fit for tackling bloal markets.
  • Given how hard is to find great people, you should be doing your utmost to keep them. Plenty of companies are willing to let their stars dissapear when life forces them to move. That’s just plain dumb.
  • Original entry: https://raulbarraltamayo.wordpress.com/2020/03/19/remote-by-jason-fried-david-heinemeier-hansson/
  • People who’ve been with a company for a long time make ideal remote workers. They already know everyone, how everything works, and what they need to do.
  • Keeping a solid team together for a long time is a key to peak performance.
  • Doing great work with great people is one of the most durable sources of happiness we humans can tap into.
  • If anything, the human connection is even more important when hiring remote workers because it has to be stronger to survive the distance.
  • That’s one of the key challenges of remote work: keeping everyone’s outlook healthy and happy.
  • Remember: sentiments are infectious, whether good or bad.
  • 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.
  • Magic and creativity thrive in diverse cultures. When you’re seeking remote workers, you have to do even more to encourage and nurture diversity and personal development. It’s a small price to pay for a more interesting workplace and to keep people engaged for the long term.
  • The main way you’ll communicate is through the work itself. If the quality just isn’t there, it’ll be apparent from the second the person starts, and you’ll have wasted everyone’s time by hiring on circumstancial evidence.
  • Instead of thinking I can pay people from Kansas less than people from New York, you should think I can get amazing people from Kansas and make them feel valued and well-compensated if I pay them New York salaries.
  • As a remote worker, you shouldn’t let employers get away with paying you less just because you live in a cheaper city. «Equal pay for equal work» might be a dusty slogan, but it works for a reason.
  • Central online repositories fro tracking tasks and reporting progress, like Basecamp, create an irrefutable paper trail showing what everyone is getting done and how long it’s taking.
  • When the work is out in the open, it’s much easier to see who’s actually smart (as opposed to who simply sounds smart). The collective judgment rarely even has to be verbalized.
  • Remote work speeds up the process of getting the wrong people off the bus and the right people on board.
  • Being a good writer is an essentiasl part of being a good remote worker.
  • The first filter that really matters is the cover letter explaining exactly why there’s a fit betwen applicant and company. There’s simply no getting around it: in hiring for remote-working positions, managers should be ruthless in filtering out poor writers.
  • The best way we’ve found to accurately judge work is to hire the person to do a little work before we take the plunge and hire them to do a lot of work. Call it «pre-hiring». Pre-hiring takes the form of a one- or two-week mini-project. We usually pay around $1,500 for the mini-project. We never ask people to work for free. Whatever it is, make it meaningful. Make it about creating something new that solves a problem. We don’t believe in asking people to solve puzzles.
  • What we usually do is narrow the field to about two or three final candidates. Then we’ll fly each in for a day. Since we already know we like their skills, the in-person meeting is to determine if we like the «person». The meeting is informal, usually over lunch. We often let the candidate go out with their potential team coworkers instead of their manager. In the end, we make the call on talen and character. It’s always a blend.
  • If there’s an ideal training regimen for remote workers, it’s being a contractor for a while.
  • Contract work is an excellent way for both the company doing the hiring and the person being hired to ease into remote work and try it on for size.
  • It’s best if you start as early as possible. Cultures grow over time, and it’ll be a lot easier if your culture grows up with remote workers.
  • A great place to start is to allow your current employees to being working remotely. You may want to offer the remote option to people on different teams. Maybe it’ll turn out that one type of job is easily done remotely, while another really feels as though it should happen in the office. You never know until you try.
  • It’s easy to be a manager when all you have to do is manage the chairs. Making sure that the little worker bees arrive by nine in the morning and giving them an extra star on their score card if they stay past six, this is how much of management has operated since forever.
  • The job of a manager is not to herd cats, but to lead and verify the work. They should know what needs to be done, understand why delays might happen, be creative with solutions to sticky problems, divide the work into manageable chunks, and help put the right people on the right projects.
  • Just because you don’t have a permanent office, or not everyone is working out of one, that’s no reason not to get together every now and then. In fact, it’s almost mandatory to do so ocasionally. At 37signals, we meet up at least twice a year for four to five days. Part of the reason is to talk shop, present the latest projects, and decide the future direction of the company.
  • It’s just easier to work remotely with people you’ve met in so-called «real life», folks you’ve shared laughs and meals with. Meetups are especially important as a way to introduce new people to the rest of team.
  • As important as it is to have the entire company get together, it’s also a great idea to occasionally do a sprint with a smaller group to finish a specific project. If the company must make a mad dash to meet a deadline.
  • Going to an industry conference is another good opportunity for team bonding.
  • Just because you work remotely most of the time doesn’t mean you have to, or should, work remotely all of the time. Fill up the camel’s back every now and then with some in-person fun.
  • Would-be remote workers and managers have a lot to learn from how the open source software movement has conquered the commercial giants over the past decades. It’s a triumph of asynchronous collaboration and communication like few the world has ever seen.
  • If you treat remote workers like second-class citizens, you’re all going to have a bad time. The lower the ratio of remote workers to office worker, the more likely this is to happen. As a company owner or manager, you need to create and maintain a level playing field, one on which those in and out of the office stand as equals.
  • People with the power to change things need to feel the same hurt as those who merely have to deal with it. Just have them work from home a few days a week. They’ll get at least some sense of what it’s like to wear a remote worker’s shoes. Even better, though, than having managers occasionally work from home is having them actually be remote.
  • The mechanics of leveling the playing field are pretty simple: Get great intercom systems, use shared desktop apps like WebEx to ensure everyone is seeing the same thing while collaborating, and hold as many discussions as possible on email and other online messaging platforms.
  • While we advocte frequent check-ins with all your employees, it’s a good idea to check in a bit more frequently with remote workers. The key is to make them casual and conversational. This is a «what’s up, how are things?» call more than a specific critique of a specific project or a response to a piece of work. The goal here is really just to keep a consistent, open line of communication. The real dangers are the small things, the concerns that creep up between annual check-ins.
  • Getting sutff done while working remotely depends, first, on being able to make progress at all hours. It’s not good twiddling your thumbs for three hours waiting for a manager to grant you permission, or hoping a coworker gets up soon so he or she can show you how something works in the remote world.
  • Start by empowering everyone to make decisions on their own. If the company is full of people whom nobody trusts to make decisions without layers of managerial review, then the company is full of the wrong people.
  • What is the case is that people are often scared to make a decision because they work in an environment of retribution and blame.
  • As a manager, you have to accept the fact that people will make mistakes, but not intentionally, and that mistakes are the price of learning and self-sufficiency.
  • You must make sure that people have access, by default, to everything they need. Most companies start out by adopting the reverse policy: everyone is only granted access to information and applications on a need-to-know basis.
  • At 37signals we’ve created a number of ways to eradicate roadblocks. First, everyone gets a company credit card and is t old to «spend wisely». There’s no begging to spend money on needed equipment to get the work done, and there are no expense reports to fill out (just forward all receipts to an internal email address in case of an audit). Workers at 37signals needn’t ask permission to go on vacation or specify how much time they’ll take. We tell them: just be reasonable, put it on the calendar, and coordinate with your coworkers. If you let them, humans have an amazing power to live up to your high expectations of reasonableness and responsability.
  • It’s overwork, not underwork, the real enemy in a successful remote-working environment.
  • In the traditional office setup, people might stay a few hours after closing time, but they surely go home at some point. For remote workers, the lines are sometimes blurrier. This might sound like an employer’s dream: workers putting in a ton of extra hours for no additional pay! But it’s not. If work is all-consuming, the worker is far more likely to burn out. This is true even if the person loves what he does. Perhaps especially if he loves what he does, since it won’t seem like a problem until it’s too late.
  • It’s much likelier to breed a culture of overwork if managers and owners are constantly putting in He-Man hours.
  • In the same way that you don’t wnat a gang of slackers, you also don’t want a band of supermen. The best workers over the long term are people who put in sustainable hours. Not too much, not too little, just right. Forty hours a week on average usually does the trick.
  • When there’s a complicated matter to discuss, one requiring a lot of interaction to sort through, few things beat a face-to-face meeting. However, when such meetings occur all the time, they being to lose their value. Once in a while these gabfests are fine, but when they become the norm (when they’re abundant) you’ve got a problem.
  • The scarcity of such face time in remote working situations makes it seem that much more valuable. And as a result, something interesting happens: people don’t waste the time. An awareness of scarcity makes them use it wisely.
  • Make face-to-face harder and less frequent and you’ll see the value of these interactions go up, not down.
  • Without clear boundaries and routines, things can get murky.
  • Most people need some sort of routine, something they can stick to at least most of the time.
  • It can be helpful to separate the clothes you wear, depending whether you’re in work or play mode.
  • Another hack is to divide the day into chunks like Catch-up, Collaboration and Serious Work. Some people prefer to use the mornings to catch up on email, industry news, and ther low-intensity tasks, and then put their game face on for tearing through the tough stuff after lunch.
  • You can use the layout of your house as a switch. Make sure that real work only happens when you’re in your dedicated home office.
  • Most people will need some semblance of structure to get the most out of working remotely. Find what works for you.
  • Remote isn’t all or nothing. Some people can be local, some can be remote. Or some days can be spent in the office, and some outside of the office. Flexibility is your friend here. It’s no 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 every day, change that requirement to every afternoon instead. Then let your troops have their mornings to themselves.
  • A more plausible, human strategy is to separate the two completely by using different devices: simply reserve one computer for work and another for fun. A similar effect is achieved by separating work and home accounts for email and chat. If your work email is available 24/7 on your tablet and phone, you probably won’t be able to resist the temptation.
  • Certain remote workers will find, though, that it’s actually harder to get into the flow when they’re sitting in complete isolation. If that resonates, here’s a simple strategy: Take your laptop and head to the nearest coffee shop with WiFi.
  • Motivation is the fuel of intellectual work.
  • Trying to conjure motivation by means of rewards or threats is terribloy ineffective. In  fact, it’s downright counterproductive.
  • The only reliable way to uster motivation is by encouraging people to work on the stuff they like an care about, with people they like and care about. There are no shortcuts.
  • If a worker’s motivation is slumping, it’s probably because the work is weakly defined or appears pointless, or because others on t he team are acting like tools.
  • At 37signals we let employees who’ve worked with the company three years or more take a monthlong sabbatical if they feel like it.
  • Motivation is pivotal to healthy lives and healthy companies. Make sure you’re minding it.
  • «When I retire, I’m going to travel the world» is a common dream, but why wait fore retirement? If seeing the world is your passion, you shouldn’t wait until old ageto pursue it. And if you’re working remotely, you can’t use the «but I have a job» excuse to defer living.
  • Creative work that can be done remotely generally only requires a computer and an Internet connection.
  • That said, you still have to respect the laws of remote collaboration, such as overlapping with your teammates enough to ensure real-time communication. But unless you travel to the other end of the world, that’s inmensily doable.
  • Naturally, the nomadic life isn’t for everyone. Or even for most, most of the time.
  • Routine has a tendency to numb your creativity. Changes of scenery, however, can lead to all sorts of new ideas.
  • Don’t think of working remotely as just shifting your routine from the office to the home. Instead, look at the remote option as an opportunity to be influenced by more things and to take in more perspectives than you normally might if you had to be in the same place at the same time every day.
  • Not everyone has a spare bedroom to turn into a home office, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work remotely. As we’ve discussed, working remotely doesn’t have to mean working from home.
  • There are two fundamental ways not to be ignored at work. One is to make noise. The other is to make progress, to do exceptional work. Fortunately for remote workers, «the work» is t he measure that matters.
  • Richard Branson: «In thirty years’ time, as technology moves forward even further, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed».
  • Old habits die hard. The more entrenched, the harder they die. The world is flat right up antil the day it’s round.
  • Remote work is here, and it’s here to stay. The only question is whether you’ll be part of the early adopters, the early majority, the late majority, or the laggards.

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