Books about foundational concepts
1.”Remote: Office Not Required” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
A paradigm-shifting guide, “Remote: Office Not Required,” offers a compelling argument for the benefits of remote work. Authored by Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the book explores the advantages and challenges of working off-site.
It particularly highlights how remote work can lead to a better work-life balance and increased productivity. The book is a must-read for both managers and employees adapting to remote work environments.
“The Two Biggest Drags On Productivity: Meetings And Managers (Or, As We Call Them, M&Ms). These two staples of work life—meetings and managers—are actually the greatest causes of work not getting done at the office…”
2. “The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work: How to Grow, Manage, and Work with Remote Teams” by Wade Foster
Wade Foster’s “The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work” is an insightful resource from the co-founder of Zapier, a company known for its remote-first approach. The book shares comprehensive lessons from the team’s experiences, covering the full spectrum of running a remote team, from setup to managing complex dynamics. Unique in its real-world perspective, the book draws on successes and failures alike, offering a holistic view of remote work management.
3. “The Holloway Guide to Remote Work” by Juan Pablo Buriticá and Katie Wilde
“We can learn a lot from seemingly successful remote companies, but we shouldn’t blindly copy them.”
This guide provides an in-depth look at remote work from various perspectives. Authored by Juan Pablo Buriticá and Katie Wilde, it is a comprehensive resource for both managers and employees navigating the remote work environment. The book covers a wide range of topics, from setting up a remote office to maintaining productivity and collaboration in a virtual setting. It’s a valuable resource for anyone looking to understand the intricacies of remote work and how to succeed in it.
4. “Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere” by Tsedal Neeley
“Cognitive trust is grounded in the belief that your coworkers are reliable and dependable. Teams motivated by cognitive-based trust use their heads to consider their colleagues’ qualification to do the task at hand; trust is usually formed over time, and confirmed (or disproven) over numerous experiences and interactions.”
Tsedal Neeley’s book is an essential guide for navigating the challenges faced by teams and managers in remote settings. It’s filled with actionable steps and interactive tools designed to help team members achieve results that were previously challenging in traditional settings.
The book also addresses the rapid changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting the benefits of remote working, such as reduced commute times and operational costs, and a larger pool of global job applicants. It offers solutions for employees feeling lost or isolated and for managers seeking to lead effectively in a virtual environment.
Books about leadership and management in remote settings
5. “Leading from Anywhere: The Essential Guide to Managing Remote Teams” by David Burkus
“The optimal engagement boost from working remotely happened when employees spent between 60 and 80 percent of their time off-site—that is, three or four days out of the week.”
David Burkus’ book is hailed as the best on remote work, praised for being incisive, original, and extremely practical. “Leading from Anywhere” is the ultimate guide for leaders of remote teams, tackling challenges from hiring and onboarding remotely to building a remote culture, tracking productivity, and avoiding burnout.
The book recognizes that the new era of remote work demands a different skill set from leaders. It provides managers with a comprehensive guide, filled with everyday examples and insights. This book is structured around the lifecycle of working on a team and addresses key challenges that remote managers face, such as communicating effectively, managing performance, and keeping the team engaged.
6. “The Long Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership” by Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel
This book delves into the unchanged principles of leadership and how they apply in the evolving context of remote work. The authors argue that while the core principles of leadership remain timeless and true, the change in where and how people work necessitates a new approach in leadership.
“The Long-Distance Leader” provides insights into the nuances of leading in the virtual work environment, emphasizing the need for leaders to adapt their communication and management styles. It guides readers on how to maintain better relationships, achieve more, and find success in leading teams that are not physically co-located.
“The battle between perception and reality will always be won by perception. If your team members don’t see the actions that show that you are thinking about them, want them to succeed, trust them, and more, it really doesn’t matter what you are thinking or what your intention is”
7. “Office Optional: How to Build a Connected Culture with Virtual Teams” by Larry English
Larry English’s “Office Optional” is a timely guide for building a connected culture within virtual teams, especially relevant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on work norms. The book underscores the increasing prevalence of remote work, predicting that 73% of teams will have virtual workers by 2028.
English emphasizes the importance of building and maintaining a strong virtual culture to enhance employee engagement and thereby gain a competitive advantage. He advocates for a trust-based approach towards remote workers, advising against micromanagement and encouraging regular progress checks.
This approach, English suggests, not only makes work more enjoyable but also leads to significant organizational benefits, as engaged teams are shown to generate significantly higher revenue per worker.
“To start building your remote culture, establish and share some basic rules. The first and most important rule is mutual trust between the company and its workers. The rules after that? As few as possible”
8. “Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader” by Herminia Ibarra
Herminia Ibarra’s “Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader” is a thought-provoking book that challenges conventional wisdom about leadership development. Ibarra, a renowned leadership and career development expert, emphasizes the importance of learning through action. She advises managers and executives to redefine their roles for strategic contributions, expand their networks, and evolve their leadership styles.
The concept of ‘outsight,’ as opposed to ‘insight,’ is central to her philosophy. This refers to the external perspective gained from experiences and experimentation, crucial for changing one’s approach to leadership and personal growth.
“The paradox of change is that the only way to alter the way we think is by doing the very things our habitual thinking keeps us from doing.”
Books about productivity and organizational hacks
9. “Work-From-Home Hacks: 500+ Easy Ways to Get Organized, Stay Productive, and Maintain a Work-Life Balance While Working from Home!” by Aja Frost
This book is a treasure trove of practical advice for anyone navigating the work-from-home lifestyle. Aja Frost, in her insightful book, addresses the perks and challenges of remote work. The 500 easy-to-follow hacks she provides are designed to enhance productivity, organization, and overall happiness in a home working environment.
From creating a designated workspace to figuring out what background noise works best, the tips are both practical and easy to implement. The book is particularly helpful for those adjusting to a new remote work schedule, seeking to improve their long-standing remote work routine, or needing advice for occasional work-from-home days.
“Messy homes are also linked to increased procrastination. Before you clock out each night, spend five minutes putting things away, organizing your papers, and removing dirty glasses.”
10. “Working From Home: Making the New Normal Work for You” by Karen Mangia
The book is a comprehensive guide designed to transform remote working into a powerful career choice. Mangia, a Salesforce executive, offers detailed strategies for building an effective home office, managing time for optimum productivity and balance, and dealing with common challenges like Zoom fatigue and isolation.
The book emphasizes creating powerful virtual presentations and building a career impact online. It underscores that success isn’t bound to a location; with the right strategies, one can progress in their career from anywhere. This resource is packed with concrete strategies and practical advice, making it an essential read for those seeking work/life balance in remote work and for professionals and leaders seeking fresh ideas for the future of work.
11. “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport
Cal Newport’s “Deep Work” delves into the concept of intense, focused work without distractions on cognitively demanding tasks. Newport argues that deep work is akin to a superpower in today’s economy, enabling individuals to quickly learn new skills and produce high-value work efficiently. This type of work not only boosts productivity but also adds a sense of meaning and fulfillment to professional life.
Newport suggests that the most impactful people in history, like Einstein and Jobs, were adept at deep work, using intense focus to create significant changes. He underscores the idea that, in contrast to the draining nature of tasks like constant email checking, deep work can provide immense satisfaction and is a skill worth cultivating in the modern, distraction-filled work environment.
“Two Core Abilities for Thriving in the New Economy 1. The ability to quickly master hard things. 2. The ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.”
12. “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
“Rework” stands out for its unorthodox approach to business success. The authors, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, challenge conventional business wisdom, advocating for a simpler, more productive way of working. They argue against traditional practices like writing detailed business plans, studying the competition obsessively, and seeking external investors. Instead, they focus on working smarter, not harder, and eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy and paperwork.
The book’s particularly suited for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and anyone feeling stuck in their current job. A notable perspective from the book is:
“You don’t need to be a workaholic… You don’t need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses. What you really need to do is stop talking and start working”.
13. “It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
This book serves as a guide for creating a more productive and calmer work environment. Fried and Heinemeier Hansson challenge traditional workplace cultures and offer practical techniques for sustainable business growth. Their approach is a departure from the high-stress, high-demand norms prevalent in many modern workplaces. They argue for a redefinition of what a successful business environment looks like, emphasizing efficiency and employee well-being over the typical grind culture.
A notable quote from the book encapsulates their philosophy: “All’s fair in love and war. Except this isn’t love, and it isn’t war. It’s business”. This reflects their stance on the unnecessary complexities and stresses often associated with the business world, advocating for a more balanced and rational approach to work.
Books about remote team building and culture
14. “75+ Team Building Activities for Remote Teams” by Christopher Littlefield
This book is a valuable resource for managers and team leaders looking to enhance team dynamics in a remote setting. It provides practical strategies and activities designed to build trust, strengthen communication, and inject humor into virtual interactions. The book emphasizes the importance of making virtual interactions less awkward and more meaningful, offering simple yet effective ways to enhance team cohesion and effectiveness in a remote environment.
The book is an essential tool for anyone managing remote teams, providing actionable tips to navigate the unique challenges of remote team building. It serves as a guide to creating a connected and productive remote team culture.
15. “Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions” by Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran
This book serves as a practical and accessible handbook, guiding individuals and organizations to recognize and prevent microaggressions in the workplace. The authors, Dr. Tiffany Jana and Dr. Michael Baran, introduce a new term, ‘subtle acts of exclusion’ (SAE), to better describe and address the impact of microaggressions.
They discuss how SAE, manifesting as exaggerated stereotypes, backhanded compliments, or unfounded assumptions, can be harmful to coworkers and colleagues. The book provides clear tools and scripts to help navigate and address these challenging, often deeply personal topics in a professional setting.
“One of the most critical aspects of inclusion is that it must happen actively. When we just passively think of ourselves as good people but don’t do anything to actively include others, that creates passive exclusion.”
16. “The Remote Facilitator’s Pocket Guide” by Kirsten Clacey and Jay-Allen Morris
This book is a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve the effectiveness of remote meetings. It tackles the common challenges associated with virtual meetings, such as technical barriers and navigating invisible group norms. The authors provide proven techniques to make virtual meetings a powerful means of collaboration, accommodating a diversity of cultures, locations, and personalities.
The book is geared towards a range of readers, from seasoned facilitators to those new to facilitating, offering principles and actionable methods to enhance an organization’s effectiveness in remote settings. It emphasizes that with awareness, planning, and practice, remote meetings can be transformed into engaging and productive collaboration tools.
Books about adapting to remote work as an employee
17. “Working Remotely: Secrets to Success for Employees on Distributed Teams” by Teresa Douglas, Mike Webber, and Holly Gordon
“Working Remotely” offers a comprehensive look at the life of a remote worker. The authors, all experienced in remote work, share strategies to overcome common challenges such as loneliness, staying motivated, and maintaining productivity in a solitary environment. They also cover how to effectively network and advance one’s career while working remotely.
A notable aspect of the book is its direct address to employees, offering them guidance on navigating their daily work life in a remote setting.
18. “Remote, Inc: How to Thrive at Work . . . Wherever You Are” by Robert C. Pozen and Alexandra Samuel
The book is a comprehensive guide for remote workers to achieve success by embracing the mindset and independence of a small business owner. The book, aimed at a broad spectrum of workers, encourages readers to view themselves as a “Business of One.” This approach involves thinking of your boss as a client and yourself as a vendor, focusing on deliverables rather than hours clocked. It provides practical tips for productivity, like creating daily routines, managing online meetings effectively, and utilizing punctuated collaboration for focused solo work and team creativity.
A notable aspect of the book is the “Goldilocks plan,” a concept that promotes a hybrid work model balancing office and remote work. This plan not only benefits remote workers in terms of flexibility and autonomy but also offers advantages to employers, such as reduced real estate costs and more autonomous teams. Pozen emphasizes the importance of finding the right balance between professional and personal priorities, asserting that the ultimate goal is to create a fulfilling career and life.
“You can thrive and excel in the hybrid world of remote + office—if you adopt the mindset, habits, and tech tools of professionals who are even more productive when they’re at home”.
19. “The New Corner Office: How the Most Successful People Work from Home” by Laura Vanderkam
In “The New Corner Office,” Laura Vanderkam leverages her 18 years of experience in remote work to provide strategies for productivity, creativity, and health in a home office setting. The book is a treasure trove of tips for navigating the challenges of working remotely, particularly relevant in the context of the shift many have experienced due to public health concerns.
Vanderkam emphasizes the need to adapt to new working environments by detaching from old routines and adopting new habits. Notable strategies include managing by task rather than time, establishing a rhythm for the day that balances focused and interactive work with breaks, and nurturing connections to build effective networks.
“I have also learned—through hard experience—that there is no virtue in putting something on a to-do list and then not doing it. It’s just as not done as if it were never on the list in the first place, only now it’s sitting there, mocking me in its undoneness.”
Books about remote work and global nomadism
20. “The Digital Nomad Handbook” by Lonely Planet
“The Digital Nomad Handbook” from Lonely Planet is a practical guide designed to inspire and motivate individuals to live and work on the road. It’s an invaluable resource for those seeking a new way of life that combines travel and a flexible work-life balance. The book covers the essentials of becoming a digital nomad, from finding remote work to choosing destinations that cater to a nomadic lifestyle.
21. “Work From Abroad: Travel the world while working a full-time remote job” by Mike Swigunski
Mike Swigunski’s “Work From Abroad” is a comprehensive guide for those aspiring to work remotely and travel simultaneously. The book provides practical tips on balancing a full-time remote job with the adventures of global travel, ensuring readers can make the most of this lifestyle.
22. “HBR Guide to Remote Work” by Harvard Business Review
The “HBR Guide to Remote Work” is a practical handbook filled with tips and advice for anyone working remotely. It covers how to stay productive, avoid distractions, collaborate effectively with distant teams, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. This guide is particularly useful for those adapting to remote work for the first time and offers strategies for managing remote employees and conducting virtual meetings efficiently.