On Remote

Like a lot of people, Covid-19 pushed me into long-term remote, so I read Remote - Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

I wanted to learn about the best practises of remote, especially understanding how it works for fully distributed companies. In the past, I occasionally worked from home (think of Canadian snow days!) but it wasn’t usually more than a few days. I even took part in a MongoDB migration at 2am on a Sunday in the middle of August as I was spending a few days on the coast.

The book was written in 2013 and promotes some technologies that now feel common like Slack and Zoom (or their Basecamp counterpart!) as well as a cultural shift from managers feeling the need to look over your shoulder and actually see you work at your desk.

More and more companies are embracing remote due to the pandemic. Some are even doing it asynchronously (some managers’ nightmare!). I do remember companies where my fully-remote colleagues felt like second-class citizens, waiting in the Zoom room alone for 5 long minutes until someone in the office joins in, missing team lunches and so on.

That makes me scared of partially-remote environments. But I do believe fully-remote, and even fully-asynchronous are the future.

Eventually, my feeling is that what matters is the team you’re in. Working on-site in the wrong team can feel way more lonely than the remote counterpart. As long as people care about each other, you will feel like you’re in the same room, going in the same direction.