Welcome to the literary realm of remote work enlightenment. Our curated list unveils the 10 best remote work books we’re currently nerding out over. Explore these insightful reads offering invaluable perspectives, strategies, and inspiration for mastering the art of remote work in the ever-evolving landscape of 2024. 

After over a decade of remote working, our team understands how many good books there are on the topic. Hubstaff’s 100% virtual team found a lot of valuable takeaways from these books, so we decided to round up our top picks and share them with you. 

Whether you’re a seasoned remote worker or just embarking on this journey, these books are your compass to navigating the challenges and embracing the opportunities of the remote work revolution

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1. Zapier’s Ultimate Guide to Remote Work

This is an ultimate guide in every sense of the word. The book covers everything you need to know about remote working. Readers can gain insights on cultivating culture across borders (and time zones), how to work faster, and optimizing your work environment for productivity.

The book began as a series of posts on their blog and is an ongoing effort to record their experiences as a remote team. It shares both the successes and failures of their experience, providing raw details about the actual challenges and rewards of distributed teams.

An awesome excerpt: “Teamwork is great. But, if you’re working with a time shift, you’ll need to pull your own weight on the team and lead your own way. If you’re always waiting for someone to tell you what to do next and that someone’s asleep while you’re working, you’ll never get anything done.”

That’s why the most crucial part of building a remote team is hiring self-directed team members— ”managers of one,” as the Basecamp team calls them in their book Rework.

2. Remote: Office Not Required

REMOTE was written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of 37 Signals, which brought the world Basecamp

Basecamp is a leading project management tool that provides remote teams with excellent collaboration infrastructure, including discussion threads, file organization, to-do lists, text notes, a built-in calendar, and more. They began their work in the industry in 1999 and have since grown to a company spread out across 26 different cities worldwide.

Employers and employees who limit their searches geographically also limit themselves, often losing out on working with the best professional/company possible. That is the idea that drove this bestselling book on the merit of remote working.

This book provides a great example of how a virtual workforce is born. 37Signals is one of the pioneers of distributed teams, and this book comes with a wealth of experience and industry authority. It shows employers and employees exactly how they can collaborate effectively from any place, anytime.

An awesome excerpt: It’s a lot harder to fake your way as a remote worker. As the opportunities to schmooze in the office decrease, the focus on the work itself increases. Additionally, central online repositories for tracking tasks and reporting progress, like Basecamp, create an irrefutable paper trail showing what everyone is getting done and how long it’s taking.

This gives back the edge to quiet but productive team members who often lose out in a traditional office environment. In a remote setup, you don’t need to constantly boast about the quality of your stuff when it’s already apparent to everyone willing to pay attention. Likewise, it’s painfully clear for all to see if you’re all talk and no walk.

3. Wrike’s The Art of Staying Productive Even Across Distance

Wrike’s ebook was born from an independent survey on remote working with more than 1,000 international respondents from startups to Fortune 500 companies. It provides compelling reasons for mastering remote collaboration and simple techniques on how to do it.

This ebook has statistics that can change the way you think about telecommuting. For example, 41% of the survey respondents said they work remotely because it saves time, and 29% said it increases productivity. The survey also reveals what sacrifices employees would make to work remotely, significant difficulties, and how many people already work from home.

An awesome excerpt: Keep in mind to always leave place for some fun. After all, it’s one of the main reasons we do what we do, isn’t it? 🙂 For example, employees of Volvo IT, an organization with a global staff of more than 60,000 people, would order food delivery to an office in another country, and this would bring up a short, impromptu party.

Our survey ranked a good mood as the No. 2 efficiency trigger after a sense of responsibility. Giving your virtual team members a reason to smile might pay back.

4. The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work

The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work

“The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work” by Scott Berkun is a compelling dive into the unconventional work dynamics of WordPress.com. Drawing from his experience as a former manager at Automattic, Berkun unveils the inner workings of a distributed team with transparency and wit. 

The book sheds light on the challenges of managing a remote workforce and celebrates the triumphs and innovations that arise from this unique work culture. Berkun’s narrative is a delightful blend of humor, thoughtful analysis, and practical advice, making it a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the intricacies of remote work. 

Through anecdotes and reflections, the author advocates for autonomy, trust, and a results-driven mindset as pivotal elements in shaping the future of work. “The Year Without Pants” is a captivating story that offers valuable lessons for navigating the ever-evolving landscape of remote work.

An awesome excerpt: Automattic, Inc., runs WordPress.com, the 15th most popular website on the planet, and is the leading organization behind WordPress, the software that powers 20 percent of the entire web—60 million sites and counting. Their success is based on challenging our biggest assumptions about how work is done:

  • Employees work remotely, from wherever in the world they wish
  • No one uses email, preferring customized blogs and online chat
  • There are no schedules, few meetings, and fewer rules
  • Workers launch new ideas and features dozens of times a day

5. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

“Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport is a transformative guide to reclaiming our focus and achieving meaningful productivity. Newport navigates the challenges of the modern work environment with precision, offering practical strategies to cultivate deep, concentrated work in a world of distractions. 

The book’s strength lies in Newport’s meticulous research and real-world examples, providing compelling insights into the benefits of deep work. The actionable advice and well-crafted principles empower readers to cultivate a work ethic beyond busyness, profoundly impacting professional success and personal fulfillment. 

“Deep Work” is a beacon for anyone seeking to navigate the complexities of the digital age while achieving exceptional results through sustained, undistracted effort. Newport’s compelling prose and actionable wisdom make this book an indispensable tool for those yearning to thrive in an era of constant interruption.

An awesome excerpt: The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.

6. HBR Guide to Remote Work

HBR Guide to Remote Work

The “HBR Guide to Remote Work” is an indispensable resource for navigating the intricacies of the modern work landscape. Compiled by one of our favorite experts, the Harvard Business Review, this guide is a comprehensive toolkit that addresses the challenges and opportunities of remote work. 

The authors provide actionable insights backed by research, covering everything from effective communication and virtual collaboration to maintaining work-life balance. What sets this guide apart is its practicality; it outlines principles and offers tangible strategies for individuals and organizations to thrive in a remote environment. 

With its authoritative voice and wealth of expertise, the “HBR Guide to Remote Work” is an essential companion for anyone seeking to optimize their remote work experience and excel in the evolving world of work.

An awesome excerpt: Get your best work done, no matter where you do it. Video calls from your couch. Project reports in a coffee shop. Presentations at your kitchen table. Working remotely gives you more flexibility in how and where you do your job. But being part of a far-flung team can be challenging.

7. The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership

The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership

“The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership” by Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel is an invaluable guide for leaders navigating the challenges of remote teams. 

With a blend of practical advice and real-world examples, the authors tackle the complexities of leading from a distance. This book stands out because it focuses on the human side of remote leadership—emphasizing trust, communication, and fostering a positive team culture. 

Eikenberry and Turmel provide a roadmap for cultivating strong connections, maintaining productivity, and achieving remarkable results despite physical distances. 

An awesome excerpt: “Three-O” Model refocuses leaders to think about outcomes, others, and ourselves—elements of leadership that remain unchanged, whether employees are down the hall or halfway around the world. By pairing it with the Remote Leadership Model, which emphasizes using technology as a tool and not a distraction, leaders are now able to navigate the terrain of managing teams wherever they are.

8. The New Corner Office: How the Most Successful People Work from Home

The New Corner Office: How the Most Successful People Work from Home

“The New Corner Office: How the Most Successful People Work from Home” by Laura Vanderkam is a refreshing take on remote work, providing a blueprint for success in the evolving work landscape. Vanderkam combines insightful research with practical strategies, offering a holistic approach to working from home. 

What sets this book apart is its focus on productivity and creating a fulfilling and balanced work-life integration. The author dispels common myths surrounding remote work and shares real-world examples of successful individuals seamlessly navigating the challenges of a home office. 

This book provides actionable advice and a mindset shift that empowers individuals to thrive in home-based workspaces. 

An awesome excerpt: Vanderkam’s hacks include:

  • Manage by task, not time. Going to an office for 8 hours makes you feel like you’ve done something, even if you haven’t. Remote employees should set 3-5 ambitious goals for each day and consider the work day done when these are crossed off.
  • Get the rhythm right. A well-planned day features time for focused work, interactive work, and rejuvenating breaks. In place of a commute, a consciously chosen shut down ritual keeps work from continuing all night.
  • Nurture connections. Wise remote workers can build broader and more effective networks than people sitting in the same cubicle five days a week.

9. Working From Home: Making the New Normal Work for You

Working From Home: Making the New Normal Work for You

“Working From Home: Making the New Normal Work for You” is a practical and insightful guide by Karen Mangia that skillfully navigates the nuances of remote work. Mangia combines firsthand experience with research-backed strategies, offering a comprehensive playbook for individuals adapting to the new normal of remote work. 

The book addresses the logistical aspects of working from home and delves into the emotional and psychological aspects, providing a holistic approach to a balanced and fulfilling work life. What stands out is Mangia’s emphasis on individual empowerment and resilience, encouraging readers to shape their remote work experience proactively. 

Whether you’re new to remote work or a seasoned professional, this book serves as a valuable companion, offering actionable advice, engaging anecdotes, and a roadmap for success in the evolving work landscape. “Working From Home” is a timely and empowering resource that resonates with the challenges and opportunities of the new era of remote and flexible work.

An awesome excerpt: COVID-19 has transformed the way that we work, interact, and live. But the change to working from home was happening long before the global pandemic. Post-coronavirus, much of work will not return to the way it was. And many workers won’t be returning to headquarters anytime soon. As I write these words, it’s difficult to predict what the new normal will look like exactly. Whatever the future holds, the odds are that you’ll be looking at it from your home office.

10. Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere 

Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere

“Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere” is a compelling guide by Tsedal Neeley that masterfully navigates the landscape of remote work. Neeley combines meticulous research with real-world examples, offering a comprehensive playbook for individuals and organizations embracing the remote revolution. 

The book delves into the nuances of remote collaboration, providing actionable strategies to foster effective communication, team cohesion, and productivity. Neeley’s emphasis on the human element distinguishes this work, addressing remote work’s emotional and cultural aspects. 

Whether you’re a seasoned remote professional or new to the concept, this book serves as a valuable companion, offering insights, practical advice, and a roadmap for success in the evolving world of remote work. “Remote Work Revolution” is a timely and authoritative resource, illuminating the path to not just surviving but thriving in the era of remote work.

An awesome excerpt: [In remote work], employees feel lost, isolated, out of sync, and out of sight. They want to know how to build trust, maintain connections without in-person interactions, and a proper work/life balance. Managers want to know how to lead virtually, how to keep their teams motivated, what digital tools they’ll need, and how to keep employees productive.

Bonus Book: Hubstaff’s NO EXCUSES Definitive Guide to Building a Remote Team

This ebook is no-nonsense, listing common concerns with virtual teams and their actionable solutions right at the beginning. Each section contains strategies clarifying how to run your remote teams, providing management flowcharts, practical tips, strategic questions to ask yourself, and communication templates/examples.

Hubstaff Co-Founder Dave Nevogt has over 12 years of experience building and managing remote teams, so he’s been around the block regarding remote working. This ebook covers Dave’s strategies for building three multi-million dollar businesses with remote teams and creating a remote work environment that works.

An awesome excerpt: Your job as a manager/owner of an organization is to leave no room for excuses from your people. There’s a super quick 5-step process that I use in my business to make sure that I am leaving no room for excuses…

  1. Describe the project to your team, making sure that they understand what the finished project looks like
  2. Get their “sign-off” that they understand precisely what needs to be done
  3. Set a deadline for project completion
  4. Get their “sign-off” on the project completion date
  5. Make it abundantly clear that you are available for questions, and live up to it.

Dave started Hubstaff as a tool to better manage remote team members with intuitive time tracking, insightful reporting, proper productivity monitoring, and other innovative features to propel your distributed team’s productivity.

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We want to know your top picks

Have you already read any of these books? Share your reviews in the comments below, and please let us know if we missed an excellent book that we should check out!

Category: Remote