Elaheh Nazari

Posted on 22nd September 2020

Remote: Office Not Required – The highlights

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Because of the COVID19 pandemic, remote work is going viral, so it’s better to know a bit more on do’s and don’ts. Also as Flexiana is a remote collaboration, I love this book and I think they should have named it, how to work in a multinational organization as a digital nomad!

Remote - Office Not Required

Benefits of Remote Working

Thanks to technology, remote working has become an option. Modern technology has made it possible to have access to almost everything needed for working from anywhere, anytime. 

This means a win-win situation for both employees and employers. More productive time, less money spent on commuting, flexibility, no rent for an actual office, and lots of other benefits.


Normally employers have concerns about remote work which are more of an excuse or because of distrust when you think about it twice, for example:

No face to face brainstorming. it might be true, but you can go with brainwriting in my idea. Other than that everyone involved knows about the topic beforehand, so an online meeting might be required for only 30 minutes.

Worries of employees laze around and not work. 80% of issues not as urgent as they seem at first. When you check your email you can answer 15% of the questions, chatting and only 5% require phone calls.

Distractions at home. when you have an interesting JTBD then you won’t get distracted.

Lack of security, inaccessibility to customers.

Negative impact on culture. there are no holiday parties in the organization but a set of values.

Some think that you can protect confidential information when people work in the office, but the idea of Single Point of Failure (SPoF) says that with having all the systems inside one office, if one computer system fails, then all other ones fail as well. If you can do online banking, then working remotely can be safe as well. Important information should be stored in a public domain.

There are trade-offs when working remotely, including reduced face-to-face time and loss of common work frames. There should be a more personal commitment and new work frames.

  • Create an overlap in work hours. About 4 hours of overlap across time zones can be ok to make remote workers feel like a part of a team and also have a balance between time for collaboration.
  • Create a “Virtual Water Cooler”. Chat rooms are essential for when there is no real water cooler in the office. Staff should be able to hang out no matter if it is about work or just about last week’s Formula 1 race!

But how do you find the right staff for remote work?

Equal pay for quality. Don’t use remote work as an excuse to pay unequally. Just because different staff lives in different places with different cost of living, the numerations should be equal.

Use test projects/ contracts. Just like the work trail period do “pre-hiring” for remote employees as well. Hire the candidate for a small project for about 2 weeks before making the hiring official. Or you can make a contract to have a mutual fit.

Check their CV. Also, check the candidate’s portfolio, give test tasks.

But how to manage remote workers?

Meet-ups & sprints. Meeting up in person occasionally like twice a year, or even do a sprint to finish a project.

One-on-ones. Regular one-on-one calls every month can help employees feel connected and figure out small unnoticed matters.

Let them decide. Employees can meet your expectations if you give them some freedom.

Equalize office and remote employees. When discussing projects give both teams equal opportunities.

Weekly tasks. Every week employees should discuss what they are working on to everyone in the general flow.

Be careful with motivations. Do not let the work absorb people, provide family days, finance hobbies, and even encourage employees to go on vacations.

What should employees do?

If you start working remotely you should adjust your thinking and behavior with the new lifestyle.

Ergonomics. Working from anywhere also requires proper equipment and taking care of your body yourself. Try to prepare yourself for that.

Build a daily routine. Some different routines can help out a lot. For example, try to work in the living room in the morning to do the meetings as well, then do not forget to have your meal break, and for the evening part go to the rooftop, or a balcony, or even a cafe to do less focused work.

Don’t work in your PJs. Have a presentable look can help you get into the working mode.

Work with clients according to the rules. When negotiating with clients inform them that you do not live nearby. Be available for contact, show them how much has been processed.

Do not do too much. If you did a good job today, then relax. There is no need to rush and overwork. 

Go out. Do sports, attend events, try to have a positive life attitude.


Remote: Office Not Required, Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, Crown, 2013

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