Top remote work playbooks

6 Remote Work Playbook Every Leader Should Read


1. GitLab

GitLab is a DevOps platform built from the ground up as a single application for all stages of the DevOps lifecycle enabling Product, Development, QA, Security, and Operations teams to work concurrently on the same project.

The playbook by GitLab is probably the most comprehensive and referred to guide for operating a fully remote company. And for very good reason!

GitLab is one of the world’s largest all-remote company with 1400 employees around the world. It hires people from all around the world, in different time-zones.

It is well known for its remote manifesto as screenshot here:

GitLab's remote manifesto
GitLab’s remote manifesto

Its remote work playbook itself spans 26 pages and provides a step-by-step guide for important considerations such as making the transition to remote, managing a distributed team, remote communication strategy, building culture, and even becoming a remote work expert (aka a Head of Remote).

GitLab truly is a pioneer of remote work and we are indeed fortunate that like the open source community it serves, the company has decided to share its best practices gleaned through the years, with the rest of the world.

2. Topal

Esevel - Topal remote work playbook

Toptal’s remote work playbook encapsulates the wisdom gained from years of fully remote operations. It serves as a comprehensive guide for organizations and individuals looking to thrive in the ever-expanding remote work landscape.

The playbook dives deep into the critical human resource aspects of a distributed company:

  • The techniques required to build and maintain a values-based culture in a dispersed workforce
  • Tackles the key questions surrounding work in a remote setting, such as maintaining focus at home, conducting meaningful virtual meetings, and more
  • Toptal’s perspective on security practices and IT support for remote teams
  • Detailed insights into the best daily tools and how to leverage them for maximum efficiency.
  • How organizations can anticipate and mitigate potential pitfalls from Toptal’s experiences.

Drawing from a wealth of experience, Toptal’s insights provide a roadmap for a future where work has no geographical boundaries and is built upon trust, collaboration, and productivity.

3. Atlassian

Atlassian is the brains behind tools like Jira and Trello that are used by thousands of teams worldwide. And their remote work playbook s definitely one to look out for.

Esevel - Atlassian’s remote work playbook

They provide 6 plays for adapting to remote work. The 6 being, firstly, My User Manual where you can discover what everyone’s remote work preferences are. This helps establish ground rules for better collaboration. There is also Project Poster where you can agree on project goals and document how to move work forward. Inclusive Meetings and Stand Ups are available to strengthen team bonding. And for a higher learning curve, the 4Ls Retrospectives and Learning Circle is something to check out.

Another exciting feature available on this remote work playbook is a Team Health Monitor. So not only can you monitor each’s other’s work, but you can also monitor and encourage your team members to lead a healthy lifestyle.

4. Equal Experts

Esevel - Equal Experts remote work playbook

The remote work playbook by Equal Experts is one of the more easily accessible playbooks online, as it does not require an additional download step. The page is also easily understandable and provides comprehensive content on what to expect.

The list of content available includes remote work and its advantages, team charter, communication tools and even everyday working etiquette. Additionally, to learn some of the techniques they use and to talk to our experts, they have set up a series of webinars to share their insights on how to build high-performing delivery teams. Of course we have to recommend this remote work playbook!

5. Thoughtworks

The global COVID-19 pandemic brought with it an unprecedented shift in the way organizations operate. Thoughtworks, a leading global technology consultancy, shares its wealth of knowledge and insights to help guide organizations through this transformative journey.

Their information-rich playbook dives into 7 aspects of how they sequentially tackle all remote challenges:

  1. The 4 overall stages to “go remote” like a pro.
  2. Remote infrastructure: How to ensure employees have the necessary technology and hardware infrastructure in place to support core operations?
  3. Virtual communications: What type of collaboration tools and common virtual communication are needed?
  4. Managing stakeholder expectations: The principles to build and grow the strong relationships that are core to effective remote work.
  5. Way of working: Establishing a clear, comprehensive governance structure, and defined ways of working for transparency and guidance for your teams.
  6. Supporting your people: Consider the employee experience in a remote setting.
  7. Social practices for remote working: Be empathetic, connected, trusted, and embrace flexibility.

6. NCR Corporation

NCR is the world’s enterprise technology leader for restaurants, retailers and banks. The #1 global POS software provider for retail and hospitality, and the #1 provider of multi-vendor ATM software. They also create software, hardware and services that run the enterprise from the back office to the front end and everything in between for their clients. 

Esevel - NCR Corporation remote work playbook

With each page packed with information, there are little tidbits and nuggets available to aid with the digestion of the information. The contents also include things like how to maximize family time and give pointers on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

8 Key lessons for creating an impactful remote work playbook

When remote work is the new norm, an effective remote work playbook is your base for future global growth. Here are key lessons and guidelines to help organizations create a playbook tailored to their needs:

1. Define clear objectives:

Begin by identifying the objectives and goals of your remote work playbook. Understand what you aim to achieve with remote work, whether it’s increased productivity, improved work-life balance, or talent acquisition from diverse regions.

2. Tailor to your culture:

Ensure that your playbook aligns with your company’s values and culture. Remote work should enhance, not dilute, your organizational identity. Consider how your culture can thrive in a remote setting.

3. Set communication standards and embrace technology:

Establishing clear communication standards and embracing technology go hand in hand in creating an effective remote work environment. Define expectations for team communication channels, response times, and meeting etiquettes. 

Additionally, leveraging technology, such as communication tools like Slack and project management platforms like Jira, streamlines remote work processes, enhancing productivity and ensuring that remote teams stay connected and efficient. Regularly assessing and updating your tech stack is essential to adapt to evolving needs and maintain the efficiency of your remote work setup.

4. Prioritize security:

5. Flexibility and autonomy:

Grant employees flexibility and autonomy in managing their work. Focus on outcomes rather than micromanaging. Trust your team to deliver results independently.

6. Support well-being:

Include resources for maintaining physical and mental well-being in your playbook. Encourage work-life balance, offer guidance on managing remote stress, and promote healthy habits.

7. Inclusivity and diversity:

Ensure that remote work practices are inclusive and promote diversity. Address potential biases and provide equal opportunities for all team members, regardless of location.

8. Adaptability and evolution:

Acknowledge that circumstances may change. Your playbook should remain adaptable to evolving needs, whether due to technological advancements or unforeseen global events.

Choose the remote work playbook that works for you!

The above six remarkable remote work playbooks have revealed unprecedented lessons, practices, and insights that have been proven to be effective.  

As remote work continues to reshape businesses and our world, it is vital for organizations to adapt and evolve. Explore and choose the remote work playbook that aligns with your vision, and kick off your remote work endeavor.

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