While it may be new to many of us, the remote work revolution has been quietly building for the past decade. In their book REMOTE: Office Not ...
Issue #2
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Will remote work?

While it may be new to many of us, the remote work revolution has been quietly building for the past decade. In their book REMOTE: Office Not Required, the founders of Basecamp (ex-37 Signals) advocated for remote back in 2013. Some prominent tech companies like InVision (700 people) and GitLab (1,295 people across 67 countries) were profiled in mainstream media for operating remotely, but until recently, it still was widely regarded as some kind of gimmick more than anything else. Now, there seems to be no doubt remote is here to stay. So, the first thing to ask: Is it, in fact, actually good?
🔮 Back to the future

BREAKING: Company Goes Remote, Does Not Go Bankrupt

Before the pandemic the general attitude to remote went something like this: "Does this sound cool? Sure. Do I want to do all the hard work necessary to turn my already-running-smoothly business into a remote company? Oh God no," says Jon Smith, the CEO of Imaginary Average Company, Inc.

Now, we’re realizing remote work is a win-win: Companies get to save "a ton" of money, while people can now work as they please. Twitter, Amazon, Google, and many others already introduced all-remote policies — some perpetually, some until the end of year — making it much easier for everyone else to follow.

Getting rid of the office represents a deep structural change. No more commute, hence more free time and less pollution; less distraction, hence work can be done faster; no imposed office space, hence more flexibility, comfort, and ultimately happiness; no need to be stuck in one place, hence more traveling opportunities; no awkward water cooler talk, hence more authentic and honest connections.


Your new office is anywhere, how do you like that

Of course, there are difficulties, too: for one, everyone will need a bigger apartment, ideally twice the size, to tangibly separate work from non-work — or find a co-working space to have somewhere else to work from. The boundary between work and personal life is almost non-existent when you have company email and Slack on your phone, and it's important to keep and protect that boundary, however thin it may be. Worst of all, you have to take care of your own lunch.

There are more grim consequences to it. It could well be that the long-term lack of in-person socializing will have a long-lasting impact on mental health. It could well be that corporations will be firing $200k software engineers from San Francisco, replacing them with equally good software engineers from much less expensive places. In a way, this is similar to the wave of globalization in the early 2000s, when call centers became offshored. With the commoditization of hard skills, soft skills — like being able to work well and collaborate remotely with people from different cultures — will be valued more. It could well be that we'll see the 40-hour work week reduced. The number of companies experimenting with 4-day work weeks and 5-hour work days is on the rise.

At any rate, the change is inevitable, and hopefully the pros will outweigh the cons. I, for one, will not miss the office.

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Remote for life

Most of us are just getting used to working from home, but for Oskar Zabik, a Pitch software engineer, it's all he's ever known. He’s worked remotely his entire life, and in this post he shares what nearly a decade has taught him about effective communication and collaboration.

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Pitch blog, 12 min read

Editor's picks

A list of the essential pieces on this topic

A stack of books
WorkLife with Adam Grant
TED talk by Tom Wujec

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