Book Review: Remote – Office Not Required

Remote Working Organization Hiring

I have been inspired by and learned so much from 37signals, now Basecamp. They are one of the more unconventional and, at the same time, successfull companies.

Apart from their excellent blog, they have published three books:

I can certainly recommend them all.

The Book

Remote is a short and concise book 1 . Good, clear writing. No fluff. (Jason Fried is a no-bullshit designer, writer and entrepreneur.)

As the book was already in the making when Yahoo changed their remote workforce policy (you may remember the discussions this caused in the tech industry in 2013), they had a seemingly perfect timing to publish a book on the topic.

It’s a great resource for business owners as well as people who do or plan to work remotely. And, who better to talk about it and share experiences than Basecamp?

You will read about the advantages of remote working, excuses for not doing / allowing it, tools and tips as how to make it work, advice on managing, hiring, etc.

The book also provides some insight into Basecamp’s own culture and how they deal with certain challenges and questions.


Here are some of the things I marked and my comments.

The big transition with a distributed workforce is going from synchronous to asynchronous collaboration. Not only do we not have to be in the same spot to work together, we also don’t have to work at the same time to work together.

This explains partly why I have started TightOps. It’s also a good reason to have some kind of protocol and structure to your team’s communication and work routine. Managing to stay on top of things, especially getting used to asynchronous commnication, is one of the things I hope to make accessible to the companies that implement TightOps.

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 well enumerate. That it may also end up reducing costs spent on offices and result in fewer-but-more-productive workers is the gravy, not the turkey.

Benefits of remote working.

There simply isn’t much room for weak communication on teams with tight collaboration. You need solid writers to make remote work work, and a solid command of your home language is key.

I find this to be true on a daily basis. Although I admittedly have a knack for communication and writing, you can’t really argue away that collaboration needs communication.

If you let them , humans have an amazing power to live up to your high expectations of reasonableness and responsibility.

Certainly not how all business owners think or, more important, act. If you’re interested to learn more about this, take a look at the Pygmalion effect – fascinating.

[…] treat it [motivation] as a barometer of the quality of work and the work environment.

Great point. I already started a draft on the connection of motivation and intellectual work.

  1. I intentionally avoid “business book”, as the genre isn’t that respectable anymore.