Remote: No Office Required – A Smart Book Review by Jason Fried and David Hennson

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The book “Remote: No Office Required” by Jason Fraid and David Heinemeier Hennson is about the principle of a remote office. According to the authors, the future belongs to remote work, and the traditional 8-hour presence in the office will inevitably die out over time.

Let’s take a closer look at why the authors take this point of view.

When you say “remote work,” the first thing that comes to mind is freelancing. Is it about him?

The authors consider permanent work for one company, either under a work contract or with registration in the state. If a specialist is from another country, he is most often hired under a contract. Our freelancing has its pluses, but there are a lot of minuses, both for the employer and for the employee. Therefore, both parties are afraid to commit themselves, preferring one-off orders. The book describes a well-functioning mechanism of permanent remote work, convenient and beneficial for everyone.

What is the benefit of a remote office?

According to the authors’ estimates, a person on average spends about 400 hours a year on the way to and from work, which is roughly how much they spent on creating their Basecamp program. And all because, while observing the obligatory 40-hour week, employees working from home were allowed to distribute time as convenient for them. “Owls” do not have to suffer, waking up by an alarm clock at 6 am, parents can safely take or pick up their children from school or kindergarten.

Is it possible to verify that a remote employee is really busy with business?

It is easy to check this by the results of labor. In addition, new software products are constantly being created not so much for control as for maintaining communication between employees – for web conferencing, real-time coordination and the like. You need to debug your schedule, inform your colleagues and constantly be in touch. Short-term distraction from work makes it possible after a while to see the problem from a different angle. This is especially useful for creative work.

Is there a benefit to employers?

There are many benefits, but, according to the authors, not all employers are ready to go to the creation of a remote office. People of the old school “must see everything”, keep them in their field of vision. If this does not happen, they lose confidence that everything is going as it should. They don’t want to hear about remote work. The authors of the book propose to smoothly overpersuade the authorities. First, get permission to work from home once a week (be sure to demonstrate the next day that the work was very productive). Then, after a while, ask for another day in order to accustom them to the idea that this is in the order of things.

But back to the question of benefits. According to the authors, people spend more time in the office than in home mode. They still read personal mail, check Facebook, chat and get distracted in one way or another. In some companies, it is customary to monitor the Internet activity of all employees using expensive special programs so that they are not promising to be distracted. (Wouldn’t it be better not to hire people you don’t trust, the authors are surprised). Often there are many competing companies in the same building, which may well spot and lure a good specialist, whom they see every day and hear about him. Renting a large office costs a lot of money, which could have been spent on something more useful. The company often looks for the right specialist for a long time. Finally they find him, but he lives in another city and is not ready to move. The remote office will remove this problem. In addition, he will not compare himself to colleagues or look closely at the firm next door, fully focusing on work. Working from home is one of the attractions of any company, and good professionals take this into account.

The authors believe that one of the benefits for everyone is the benefit for the environment: workers spend less on gasoline, and accordingly, emissions into the atmosphere are reduced (an impressive figure is typed in a year). When management calls meetings, people quit all their activities and waste time listening to reasoning. The authors believe that this is tantamount to the requirement to drop everything and go to entertain the boss. But when working remotely, the boss’s intervention in the lives of subordinates is more purposeful, when he sets a specific direction for everyone using chat or e-mail.

In any office, there are accidents with electricity, the Internet and so on. Employees take sick leave and in this case drop out of the process. But if they work from home, they won’t get in the way of a cold, nor will a plumber or electrician come in from a home accident. This makes it difficult to leave the house, but not to work as a teleworker. The benefits are many, but the employer needs to be prepared to recognize them.

Are the ideas from the book applicable to our realities?

It is quite applicable. In our country, many managers are ready to abandon large offices, but do not know how to properly organize remote work, and rush from one extreme to another: they are looking for cheap freelancers on exchanges, let things go by themselves, or endlessly call remote employees to meetings. The book will tell you how to proceed in such cases. It is focused on executives rather than ordinary remote employees. The future really belongs to remote offices, where people from all over the world work.

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