Remote work is incredible. Goodbye soul-draining commute, uncomfortable "business professional" outfits, and expensive takeout salads.
Hello leisurely mornings, hoodies and slippers, and delicious home-cooked meals.
But remote work is also tough. You're hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from your colleagues; your home workspace probably lacks some of the bells and whistles of a traditional office; and your work-life boundaries can quickly become nonexistent.
To learn how to conquer these challenges — plus many you haven't discovered yet — take a look at these books on remote work.
1. Working Remotely: Secrets to Success for Employees on Distributed Teams
By Teresa Douglas, Holly Gordon, and Mike Webber
Unlike many remote work books aimed at leaders and solopreneurs, Douglas, Gordon, and Webber focus on the front-line remote worker. This book is divided into seven chapters, each dedicated to a pillar of WFH success.
You'll learn how to battle isolation and loneliness, work well with your peers, and manage your inbox. Along with concrete tips, the authors include examples and anecdotes to bring their points home (no pun intended).
2. 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
On March 20th, I left HubSpot's Boston office with my monitor and keyboard. I thought I'd use them for a few weeks, a month at the most — then we'd all be back in the office.
Of course, eight months later most of our team is still working from home … and that will be the case for years to come. Maybe forever!
This book is packed with all the advice I wish I'd had when I transitioned to permanent remote work. It covers common scenarios like maintaining boundaries between work and the rest of your life (when your office is also your bedroom or kitchen), combating loneliness and isolation, and overcoming the "out of sight, out of mind" effect. Plus, if you're a parent, freelancer, or manager, there's special advice just for you.
By the time you finish, you'll know everything you need to be successful and happy as a remote worker.
3. The Holloway Guide to Remote Work
By Juan Pablo Buriticá and Katie Womersley, along with contributing authors
This manual will help leaders through common remote work challenges and choices, including hiring, onboarding, and compensating remote employees; creating communication channels and setting expectations; implementing a healthy company culture across time zones; and more.
Buriticá and Womersley draw on their experience as leaders of distributed engineering teams at Splice and Buffer, respectively. Employees from Angel List, Doist, Remote.com, and other remote organizations contributed, as well. As a result, every recommendation is practical, realistic, and often backed by case studies, examples, and/or data.
4. REMOTE: Office Not Required
By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of Basecamp
If you're looking for a manifesto on the benefits of remote work, this one's for you. Fried and Hansson spend most of REMOTE: Office Not Required refuting the arguments against allowing folks to work from wherever they'd like, such as:
- You don't need an office for collaboration
- Your company size and industry doesn't matter
- Your pool of potential employees won't shrink — it'll grow
Already believe in remote work? Looking for practical tips on how to do it well? I'd suggest other books, like Work-From-Home Hacks or the Holloway Guide.
5. Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions
By Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran
Microaggressions — or Subtle Acts of Exclusion (SAEs) as Jana and Baran call them — happen whether you're remote or co-located.
But SAEs are harder to handle when you're not all in the same room: You can't drop by someone's desk to let them know what they said was hurtful, or stop a conversation in its tracks by asking the offender to leave.
And if you're the one who committed the SAE? The relationship damage is harder to undo without the rapport-building effects of sharing an office.
That makes Jana and Baran's book an essential read for distributed teams. Learn how to spot, deal with, and most importantly, prevent SAEs so that everyone feels safe and included.
6. Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader
By Herminia Ibarra
If you're like me — or any of the other managers I talked to — your professional self-confidence might suffer after going remote.
Why? Because you lose a ton of positive feedback. You're no longer bumping into your coworkers in the hall, seeing their smiles and nods when you present, hearing their cheers when you win a big account, or getting celebratory drinks after a great quarter.
All the subtle signs that said, You're doing a great job! are gone.
This book will help restore your confidence. According to Ibarra, the best way to feel like a leader is to act like one. In other words: Your thoughts follow your actions, not the other way around.
She provides you with actionable recommendations to do just that. Whether you're an individual contributor, executive, or anyone in between, you'll discover how to step up at work — and boost your self-esteem in the process.
7. The Remote Facilitator's Pocket Guide
By Kirsten Clacey and Jay-Allen Morris
Running remote meetings is both science and art. As Clacey and Morris point out in their introduction, virtual meetings are:
- More intimidating than in-person ones, as attendees feel isolated from each other and can't read everyone's faces
- Harder to focus in; eight in ten people multitask
- More dependent on the facilitator's mood and style
To combat these issues, the authors condensed research, personal anecdotes, and strategies into a short but powerful book. In just 153 pages, you'll get a veritable PhD in remote meeting facilitation. One GoodReads reviewer said, "Everyone who does online meetings should read this book."
8. The ultimate guide to remote work
By Wade Foster, with content from Danny Schreiber, Matthew Guay, Melanie Pinola, Bethany Hills, Alison Groves, Jeremey DuVall, and Belle Cooper
Zapier has been a remote-first company since its 2011 founding. Safe to say, the team has spent a lot of time thinking about common remote work issues and coming up with scalable solutions.
This guide (which is available online for free) is broken into fifteen chapters. First, you'll learn how to hire and manage remote employees. Next, you'll delve into building and maintaining a strong virtual culture, followed by tips on productivity, multi-time-zone collaboration, and avoiding burnout.
And, finally, you'll discover how to get a remote job (likely easier now than when the e-book was first written) and work smarter, not harder with the remote work tool-kit.
Hopefully, this remote work reading list helps you avoid many of the pitfalls of working from home … while maximizing its benefits.