Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson look at the world in a different way. They don’t believe in meetings. They believe people perform the best when working from home (and this was much before the pandemic). They believed that just because work-at-office is the norm, that doesn’t mean that this is the most productive thing. And when the pandemic hit, when companies had no choice, work from home did become the norm, and companies who had maintained that this was not doable were forced to do it. 

So who are Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson? They are the CEO of a company called Basecamp, but you might know them best as the creators of Ruby on Rails, a web software framework. The Basecamp website proudly proclaims “We literally wrote the book on working remotely.” Rework speaks about various aspects of work which the authors believe are less than ideal along with their suggested alternatives. Remote deals with various aspects of remote working. In this article, I present a few points that appealed to me.

Rework

  • Growth is not always necessary. It is okay to find the right size of your company and stay there. Small is not a stepping stone, small is a great destination in itself.
  • Just Start. All you need is an idea, a touch of confidence and push to get started.
  • Workaholism is not something to be glorified. It is not sustainable. Leads to burnout. And when you are burned out, you can’t make sharp decisions, sound judgments. And you make people who work reasonable hours feel bad.
  • You’re better off with a kick-ass half rather than a half-ass whole (this is applicable in several aspects).
  • Go for quick wins, small victories. Momentum fuels momentum.

Remote

  • “I need an answer right away” is unacceptable. It is arrogant to take up someone’s time at your terms.
  • Have a lot of “What have you been working on” emails.
  • With remote work, it is particularly important to monitor the work atmosphere. No assholes are allowed. No asshole-y behaviour is allowed. No drama is allowed. No bad vibes allowed.
  • Empower everyone to make as many decisions on their own. Live with their mistakes. 
  • Be on the lookout for overwork (out of burnout) rather than underwork.

While reading both books, the base assumption is the presence of quality employees, high skill set. If that is not present, then some of the above advice ay not apply. Swamiji in Walk The Dragon made the same assumptions, that the people one hires should be high quality. 

Picture Credit: Regus.com

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Prahalad Rajkumar

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