Short summary - Remote - David Heinemeier Hansson

Scandinavian literature summaries - 2023

Short summary - Remote
David Heinemeier Hansson

The book Remote: No Office Required by Jason Fried 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 us examine in detail why the authors adhere to this point of view.

When you hear the word “remote work”, the first thing that comes to mind is freelancing. Are you talking 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 domestic freelancing has its pluses, but there are plenty of minuses, both for the employer and for the employee. Therefore, both parties are afraid to commit themselves, preferring one-time orders.

The book also describes a well-functioning mechanism for permanent remote work, convenient and beneficial for everyone.

What are the benefits of a remote office?

The authors estimate that the average person spends about 400 hours a year commuting to and from work, about the amount they spent building their Basecamp program. And all because, subject to the obligatory 40-hour week, they allowed employees working at home to allocate time in a way that suits them. "Owls" do not have to suffer, waking up on an alarm clock at 6 in the morning, parents can safely take or pick up children from school or kindergarten.

Is it possible to check that a remote employee is really busy with work?

It is easy to verify this - according to the results of labor. In addition, new software products are constantly being created not so much for control as to support communication between employees - for web conferencing, real-time coordination of cases, and the like.

You need to debug your schedule, inform your colleagues and constantly be in touch. A 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 for employers?

There are many benefits, but, according to the authors, not all employers are ready to go for the creation of a remote office. People of the old school "should see everything", keep it 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 offer to smoothly convince 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 to accustom to the idea that this is in the order of things.

(Whether such a strategy will work with our domestic employers is unknown).

But back to the issue of benefits. According to the authors, people spend more time in the office than at home. They still read personal mail, look at Facebook, chat and get distracted in one way or another. In some companies, it is customary to track the Internet activity of all employees with the help of expensive special programs so that distractions are discouraged.

(Isn't it better not to hire people you don't trust, the authors wonder).

Often there are many competing companies in the same building, which may well notice and lure a good specialist who they see every day and hear about him. Renting a large office costs a lot of money that could be spent on something more useful.

Often the company is looking 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 with colleagues or look closely at the company in the neighborhood, fully focusing on work. Working from home is one of the attractions of any company, and good professionals take this into account.

The authors consider that one of the benefits for everyone is the benefit to the environment: workers spend less on gasoline, and emissions into the atmosphere are correspondingly reduced (an impressive figure is accumulated over the year).

When management calls meetings, people drop everything they are doing and spend time listening to arguments. The authors believe that this is tantamount to a demand to drop everything and go entertain the boss. But when working remotely, the boss’s intervention in the lives of subordinates is more targeted when he sets a specific direction for everyone using chat or email.

In any office there are accidents with electricity, the Internet and other things. Employees take sick leave and in this case drop out of the process. But if they work from home, a cold won't hurt them, nor will a plumber or electrician come in because of a home accident. This makes it difficult to leave the house, but not the work of a remote employee.

The benefits are many, but the employer needs to be prepared to recognize them.

Are the ideas in the book applicable to our realities?

Quite applicable. In our country, many managers are ready to give up large offices, but do not know how to properly organize remote work, and rush from one extreme to another: they look for cheap freelancers on stock exchanges, let everything take its course, or endlessly call remote employees to meetings.

The book will tell you how to act in such cases. It is aimed more at managers than at ordinary remote employees. The future really belongs to remote offices, where people from all over the world work.