Book Review – ‘Remote’

The authors of 'Remote' challenge most of the established practices of traditional office work. A difficult concept for many to accept, but a worthwhile consideration for any proactive business.

I just finished the new book Remote by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of 37Signals.  The writing style is quite pleasant to read as it is very short chapters with lots of white space (so you can read a lot of pages faster).  They also wrote a book Rework, that was a New York Times bestseller.

I wouldn’t recommend reading this book unless you can handle disruptive thinking. These guys challenge most of the established practices of office work. More specifically, they feel that working remotely has a lot of advantages over having a ‘9 to 5 work at the office’ philosophy.

As an example they provide a provocative quote from Richard Branson:

In thirty years’ time, as technology moves forward even further, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed.”

Depending on how much you may have invested in physical office space, you could find this concept offensive. I think giving consideration to the concepts they share is at least worthwhile even if you don’t agree. They are kind enough to anticipate a number of excuses and rebuttals and provide their thoughts about each one.

One of the excuses addressed is ‘only the office is secure’. They discuss how business with a ‘secure’ office could be a well fortified castle but the drawbridge is down.  The example given is executive leaving the secure office with an unencrypted laptop. The authors are kind enough to provide their own security checklist which is a great gift to any readers who actually take it and use it for their business.

At our firm, we already practice most of the concepts presented in the book. I often work from our farm in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania, Rich is on his back deck in Ontario and Liz gets her jobs done in her pajamas before most traditional office workers even get up in the morning.

They close the book with one of my favourite quotes for those who may be drinking the ‘disruptive’ Kool-Aid from Ghandi about change:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Jason and David suggest we are in the fighting stage and we at The Business Therapist® concur.

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