The "work-from-home" phenomenon is thoroughly explored in this illuminating new audiobook from best-selling 37signals founders Fried and Hansson, who point to the surging trend of employees working from home (and anywhere else) and explain the challenges and unexpected benefits. Most important, they show why - with a few controversial exceptions such as Yahoo - more businesses will want to promote this new model of getting things done.
The Industrial Revolution's "under one roof" model of conducting work is steadily declining owing to technology that is rapidly creating virtual workspaces and allowing workers to provide their vital contribution without physically clustering together. Today, the new paradigm is "move work to the workers, rather than workers to the workplace." According to Reuters, one in five global workers telecommutes frequently and nearly ten percent work from home every day. Moms in particular will welcome this trend. A full 60% wish they had a flexible work option. But companies see advantages, too, in the way remote work increases their talent pool, reduces turnover, lessens their real estate footprint, and improves the ability to conduct business across multiple time zones, to name just a few advantages. In Remote, iconoclastic authors Fried and Hansson will convince listeners that letting all or part of work teams function remotely is a great idea - and they're going to show precisely how a remote work setup can be accomplished.
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Enjoyed Rework but this book was a disappointment
Fantastic, Futuristic, Frustrating
Fried and Hansson's borderline-indignant disregard for corporate and professional norms is well-documented both in their previous book and on the 37Singals blog. In a culture chained by institutionalization and (mostly) very slow to adapt to change, their willingness to question every single aspect of professional life and take risks are both inspiring and frustrating to those of us still chained to our desks, dreading commutes and struggling to fight the devastating consequences of interminable meetings.
The wide range of examples and possibilities they present – both from their own experience and from other organizations of every all sizes – aggregate to more of a framework or platform than set of instructions. Essentially, they argue that there is room for some level of remote work in almost every knowledge-based industry and that testing and implementing it has potential to make a very real impact both on productivity and the company's bottom line.
More memorable than any single moment in the book is the general perspective Fried and Hansson provide on management. Their belief in the creativity and drive of their own employees, leveraged by their willingness to trust them and bolstered by their relentless investment in their well-being, is at first jarring and then awe-inspiring.
Typically, non-fiction books read by narrators other than the author lose a bit of author's quality of tone, but Lowman expertly managed to preserve it.
There's a moment very near the end of the book, in which she is rattling of an absurd URL string, that her voice takes a very distinct "we're both aware this is ridiculous, right?" tone that, for whatever reason, had me doubled over with laughter. Literally. Like, I had to stop the treadmill.
- Matthew D. Styers