Larry Price

And The Endless Cup Of Coffee

Remote: Office Not Required

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The city is the original talent hub. Traditionally, those who ran the engines of capitalism thought: “Let’s gather a large numberof people in a small grographical are where they must live on top of each other in tight quarters, and we’ll be able to find plenty of able bodies to man our factories.” Most splendid, Sir Moneybags!

From the section titled “End of city monopoly”

The Gist

Remote by Jason Fried and David Hansson of BaseCamp (formerly 37signals), similarly to previous entry Rework, is a book that will surely resonate with most working Americans who despise commuting and the constant distraction of the modern office. Remote discusses the pros and cons of working remotely, with a bias towards the positive aspects.

My Opinion

I read this book in a day. I don’t mean a Saturday or a holiday of some kind (although it was Halloween, I suppose). I mean I read part of it in the morning, drove to the office, returned home in the afternoon, and finished it before dark. I love the authors' down-to-earth tone and I love the idea of telecommuting. There’s also lots of pictures. Yea, pictures!

Remote work is not a new concept, but the number of people choosing to telecommute has begun to dramatically increase. This is mostly because we all work with a digital wall in front of us all day called a computer, and many jobs don’t require direct contact with human beings the entire work-day. America seems to be coming to terms with the fact that our current corporate system is broken: the offices of 2014 are not the offices of the 1960s, but we still live in a world of endless meetings and sprawling cube farms.

Telecommuting opens up a world of possibilities. Obviously, a company offering remote positions will gain the opportunity to hire new talent from other cities, states, or even countries. Less obviously, current employees can be given the chance to be free from the shackles of a single office buildling in a single city. Instead of a company’s top talent leaving the company to go live in New Orleans instead of Chicago, the employee can choose to live wherever she wants and telecommute, keeping all the training and knowledge gained inside the company.

Co-working spaces are becoming much more prevalant in major cities across the US, and are a great home office replacement for those without a spare room. If you haven’t visited a local co-working space, I suggest you go visit one! Someone will gladly let you in for a tour and you can see what all the fuss is about. If you’re not into paying for an open-space membership, there are always coffee shops and libraries that are happy to house you on a daily basis.

The biggest downside to remote work seems to be in isolation: socializing becomes more of a hobby than a requirement. There may be chats, emails, and the occasional phone call to respond to throughout the day, but none of those can make up for face-time with other humans. Some individuals will have families to socialize with, but you can’t put all the burden on the people you love. Hobbies, meetups, and conferences would likely become much more important from a social perspective to an individual working remotely.

Who Would Like This

The modern workforce will eat this up. There is no way that millenials will put up with the archaic concept of 9-5 in the office. They (I suppose we, though sometimes it pains me to admit it) never take the status quo as a satisfactory answer.

I think that the blanket term “manager” would benefit from reading this book, but may be disgruntled by what they find inside. Handling people is not easy, and handling them remotely seems like an unsettling concept.