Remote work is now mainstream. The idea that working from home was a productivity enemy is no longer part of the panorama. Companies around the globe understand and experience all the benefits that telecommuting and flexible working arrangements offer. However, for both remote leaders and workers, there are still many challenges to overcome. This is one of the main reasons we created this blog; to share the experience we gain from being a fully remote company. Yet, we’re not a lone voice. We’ve been joined in remote work advocacy by a choir of authors who are writing useful and relevant books about the world of remote work. Here are the best remote work books.
The Best Books About Remote Work
1. Surviving Remote Work by Sharon Koifman
By doing a quick search on Google about remote working books or remote leadership books, you’ll see there are not many books written about these topics. Finding a book that contained all the answers to the questions remote leaders (and employees) had was nearly impossible – until now.
Sharon Koifman, DistantJob´s President and Founder, has more than 20 years of experience leading remote teams. All his lessons, strategies, and tips are contained in Surviving Remote Work, the ultimate guide to remote work.
This book contains key strategies to make the best out of your remote team. Things from how to build culture, and how to enable trust when employees are spread worldwide to remote onboarding, and communication are all covered in the book.
It also has a section dedicated to all remote employees with tips on dealing with distraction, burnout, and other significant aspects. If you are looking for the best books on working from home, this one’s for you.
And if you´re a fan of audiobooks, we have good news! The Surviving Remote Work audiobook version is out now!
2. From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams, by Mark Kilby and Johanna Rothman
We’re big advocates of using the Agile Development Methodology with remote teams, but we understand that not everyone finds it easy. If you’re struggling with Agile and remote, then From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams is the book you need. Mark and Johanna both have a wealth of experience in the industry and they bring that with them to help explain problems and offer solutions.
What we really loved about this book was it was well referenced. It’s not just anecdotes, Mark and Johanna are willing to share the research they did to come up with the strategies they advocate. If you’d like to learn more about the book, and Mark and Johanna’s backgrounds, then you can listen to their in-depth interview on DistantJob’s podcast.
3. Remote, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Things have changed a lot in the world of remote work since 2013 when this book was first published but that doesn’t mean the content is no longer relevant. Fried and Heinemeier Hansson were the founders of 37 Signals, now known as Basecamp, so they know their remote stuff.
If you’re looking for a title to change minds about remote work, Remote can do that. Its first two chapters are all about why remote work is the future (now present) and how to persuade others of that truth including some great answers to the old chestnuts like, ‘Others would get jealous’. It also talks about hiring and managing your remote team successfully.
4. Thinking Remote, by Pilar Orti and Maya Middlemiss
The subtitle of this book is Inspiration for Leaders of Distributed Teams and it offers support for remote team leaders whether they are just getting started, or need help with particular problems. The chapters take you from the early days of foundation laying, right through to keeping your team visible when they don’t work on-site. It also looks at the well-being of your remote team, and how to measure success.
Pilar has been a guest on the DistantJob podcast, where we talked about how visible teamwork beats ‘working out loud.’ This is also a subject explored in Thinking Remote, and it’s just one of the (many) reasons it makes our recommended list.
5. Work Together Anywhere, by Lisette Sutherland
Lisette has written a book that can take you from office-bound work to a fully remote team. Part I is the background information, Part II is about how someone works remotely, Part III is all about the transition to remote, and Part IV leads you through managing a remote team.
Lisette is another podcast guest, her episode talks about her book and her own podcast, Collaboration Superpowers. The reviews of Work Together Anywhere are positive, and we’ve added our own thumbs up to the list.
6. The Long-Distance Leader by Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel
If you want to exclusively learn more about the art of leading remote teams, The Long-Distance Leader is a great place to start with. Its guiding principle is “leadership first, location second” to emphasize how there are certain key characteristics that make a good leader regardless of the location.
The book explains that a good leader is a good leader whether on an onsite location or in a remote setting.
7. Influencing Virtual Teams by Hassan Osman
The reason most managers are micromanagers is that they don´t trust their employees will get the job done. However, this leads to burnout and disengagement from teams. Influencing Virtual Teams outlines 17 psychological tactics that help leaders get the results they want from employees.
The book covers topics like deadlines, assigning responsibilities, communication, feedback, and more!
The Best Remote Work Books
Of course, it isn’t just books that are solely about remote working that can be useful when it comes to setting up or running a remote team.
Books about leadership, communication, and technology can all help you to find the right way for your distributed team to function. Here are a few titles that have been recommended by our podcast guests over the months.
8. Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh
Delivering Happiness was recommended by DistantJob Podcast guest Oliver Weiss, this book comes to you from one of the founders of the online retailer, Zappos. In the book, Hsieh shares the lessons he has learned throughout his life when it comes to business, from starting a worm farm to the success of Zappos. If you’re interested in how corporate culture can contribute to success, this is the title for you.
9. The Art of Action, by Stephen Bungay
The Art of Action is one of the most recommended books by our podcast guests. It’s subtitled How Leaders Close the Gaps Between Plans, Actions, and Results. It’s a scholarly tome, which looks at the Prussian Army of the 19th Century which was known for its empowered junior officers. The author draws lessons from that which can (and have been) applied to modern business techniques.
10. The Icarus Deception, by Seth Godin
Most people will tell you that Icarus was warned not to fly too high, but did you also know he was told not to fly too low? In The Icarus Deception, recommended by podcast guest and Agile expert Molood Noori, Seth Godin talks about how conformity won’t help you, but creativity will.
11. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Okay, this one is pretty famous, and most people have watched the movies. But a big part of you right now might be probably wondering what on earth Lord of the Rings has to do with remote work? Well, according to our VP of operations, Rustam Ahdierviev, it has everything to do. In the 100th episode of the DistantJob podcast, he explained that this book inspires great leadership and teamwork. Also, how having a sense of purpose is what encourages teams to succeed, even when they are not in the same office.
Crack Open a Book
These are the best remote work books that are packed full of information that is relevant to both remote employees and leaders. In the past, we’ve even drawn inspiration from Science Fiction! If you think about remote working as something weird or unusual, it can be hard to relate regular business concepts to it but the truth is that work is work, whatever you do and wherever you are. You may need to come up with slightly different techniques, but the leap to remote work isn’t as wide as you might think.
And if you need someone to give you a helping hand to find the best remote workers for your team? Give us a call. We specialize in connecting great talent with the perfect opportunity and we have lots of advice and experience we’re happy to share.