The Best Books About Remote Work

Fancy some reading? Want to learn what this remote work thing is all about? Or maybe you're convinced it's the future, and want to know the best way to tap into it? We pick the best books on the topic!

Remote work is now mainstream. The idea that you can work from home is no longer (always) associated with air quotes and sceptical voices. Companies around the globe are understanding that the benefits of offering telecommuting and flexible working arrangements to their staff are many.

There’s the productivity, of course, that’s an easy sell to any bottom-line fan. Happier and healthier employees can be sold as more loyal and efficient, so that appeals to. And then there’s the fact that letting your staff work from home actually saves companies money. Remote makes sense.

But how do you actually go remote, successfully? There has been some pretty high profile ‘failures’ and recently the Bank of New York Mellon tried to call their remote team in (which didn’t work out so well for them). When you’re trying something relatively new, where do you go for advice when things aren’t going so well?

And that’s why we created this blog. We wanted to share the experience that we were gaining as a fully remote company, who spends it’s time placing remote developers in great roles. We’ve covered a wide range of topics over the years, and we don’t plan on stopping that any time soon.

But now 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 just a few of our favorites.

The Best Books About Remote Work

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 this book is a must for your bookshelf. 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 our podcast.

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, this one can do that. It’s 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.

Thinking Remote, by Pilar Orti and Maya Middlemiss

The subtitle of this books 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 wellbeing 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 by the book, just one of the reason it makes our recommended list.

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 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.

The Best Books for Remote Inspiration

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.

Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh

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 through to the success of Zappos. If you’re interested in how corporate culture can contribute to success, this is the title for you.

The Art of Action, by Stephen Bungay

This is the most recommended book by our podcast guests. It’s subtitled How Leaders Close the Gaps Between Plans, Actions, and Results. It’s a scholarly tome, which looks to 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.

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 this book, recommended by podcast guest and Agile expert Molood Noori, Seth Godin talks about how conformity won’t help you, but creativity will.

Crack Open a Book

As you can see, there are a lot of great resources out there packed full of information that is relevant to remote work. 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, wherever you do it. You may need to come up with some 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.

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Sarah Dixon

Sarah Dixon

Sarah Dixon is a children’s author, prolific writer of short stories and is studying for an MA inCreative Writing. She’s also does all sorts of things with words for businesses, like creating engaging and original blog content, copy, bids and more.