Remote, Inc.: How to Thrive at Work . . . Wherever You Are

by: Robert C. Pozen (0)

You can thrive and excel when you’re working remotely, if you adopt the mindset, habits and tech tools of professionals who are even more productive outside the office: Learn to think like a “business of one,” and that entrepreneurial mindset will transform your experience of remote work.

Remote work can be satisfying and productive—once you craft a strategy that taps into the unique advantages of working from home. After a year in which many of us plunged into remote work overnight, we finally have a chance to make thoughtful choices about how to combine remote and office work, and how to make the most of our days at home.

Remote, Inc. gives you the strategies and tools you need to make remote work a valuable part of your renewed working life. Learn how to...

  • Gain control over how and when you work by focusing on objectives, not the 9-to-5 workday.
  • Wow your managers by treating them like valued clients.
  • Beat information overload by prioritizing important emails and messages.
  • Make online meetings purposeful, focused and engaging.
  • Build great relationships with your colleagues—whether at the next desk, or another city.
  • Find a balance between work from home, and life at home.
  • Make a remote work plan that lets you get the best from time at the office—and the best of home.

Remote, Inc. takes you inside the mindset and habits of people who flourish while working outside the office some or all of the time: people who function like a “business of one.” That’s how productivity experts Robert C. Pozen and Alexandra Samuel describe the mindset that lets people thrive when they’re working remotely, whether full-time or in combination with time at the office. You can follow their lead by embracing the work habits and independence of a small business owner—while also tapping into the benefits of collegiality and online collaboration.

The Reviews

When you look at the author’s credentials—Harvard professors, regular contributors to The Wall Street Journal—you’re expecting turgid, you’re expecting Gartner graphs and longitudinal this and that’s. You’re not expecting a modern echo of John Muir’s 1969 classic "How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive" where, yes, even a compleat idiot can happily follow along, everything so simple, so keen…But that’s exactly what Alexandra Samuel and Robert Pozen deliver in "Remote, Inc.: How to Thrive at Work . . . Wherever You Are."With an estimated 20 million of us striking out, joining the 30 million already working remote, there’s a big need for rulebooks, guides and a set of best practices for flying solo. Plenty of authors are wading in, but not many if any speak with the clarity that’s useful to remoting virgins.Even veterans of the coffeeshop alt-office will find that our remote working skillsets could use some work and this book delivers dozens of truly practical strategies for improving on the old competencies.Samuel and Pozen waste no time in hammering home their central premise: That you’re not a remote worker, you’re Remote, Inc. And that means thinking like a “Business of One.” Shifting the old focus away from hours logged to outcomes achieved. Organizing the pace of work around your priorities, instead of bending your priorities to the old corporate way.These are crucial distinctions.And they might appear obvious on their face.But they do require a genuine shift in work habits and collaboration tactics to actually make it happen.Throughout the book the authors return to this premise…“…you are your own freestanding enterprise. Your boss is effectively your client, and you are effectively in the position of a vendor or supplier. Your boss gives you the orders for products and services, and it is up to you to complete those orders on time and on budget. That means you should approach your work as a series of deliverables.”Getting a handle on this is one key idea is alone worth the price of admission.Chapter 10 is worth skipping ahead to since it’s all about making meetings work—perhaps for the first time ever. It’s a tall order, right? Being bad at meetings is how humans roll. But as a busines of one, often on a video call, making meetings work rises up to near to Job 1.And you’ll leave the chapter with valuable strategies for shortening meetings, making the online convo work, ducking diplomatically out of low-value meetings, and ending every meeting with clear next steps that benefit all attendees…I tried to skip over Chapter 11, since it’s titled “Reading Online and Offline” and that doesn’t seem to approach rocket science. But I couldn’t.The authors show how hard it can become in the isolate of remote work to keep up with your industry’s news. And they artfully deconstruct the “Millennial notion” that reading on screen works just fine.They even explain to those unfamiliar with a physical newspaper what a “clipping file” is—Danger, Will Robison—and advise how best to curate the right amount of information to help a solo business thrive.Equally seasoned treatment is given to multitasking. It’s been shown in more studies than you can shake a joystick at that most multitasking results in lower-quality work and decreased productivity.The authors show why, and then flip into various workflow solutions where the brain isn’t wasting energy constantly restarting and refocusing (multitasking) and instead is attaining the Holy Grail of “extreme productivity.Favorite story in the book:I once caught a client’s attention using Venmo, which is designed for person-to-person payments. But I found this client’s Venmo ID and sent them a note—"My 2¢ on your business”—with a two-cent transfer to their account.Every chapter has a couple pearls like this, of great value to any-sized business.Favorite line in the book:“How you spend your time determines whether you’re living like a lonely echo of the nine-to-five office drone, or seizing the flexibility of home-based work to get great work done on your own schedule.”That’s what it’s all about, right? Operationally, that means…As a rockstar freelancer, free agent, Remote Inc CEO, chief marketing officer, HR director and entire workforce in your solo business, the real Job 1 is not just to get work done, “but to think strategically, manage your brand, and keep your workforce—that’s you!—happy and productive.” The book shines in helping here, probably because one of the authors, Alexandra Samuel, has lived the life of working Mom and knows the territory. Her voice rings through the pages with authentic clarity, commanding respect, sure, but also an eagerness to follow. She knows.Give it a big 5-star rating, and a must-read for aspiring solopreneurs, imho.

RAISE YOUR HAND IF…when you began working from home a year ago, you immediately read a book on how to work from home.RAISE YOUR HAND IF…you’re much smarter and more clever than your colleagues (and your competition), so there’s no need to read a book about working remotely.RAISE YOUR HAND IF…the next person you hire or supervise will be magically gifted with all the skillsets needed for the hybrid future (working remotely and at the office).Hmmm. I thought so. No worries because I’ve got just the book for you. “Remote, Inc.: How to Thrive at Work . . . Wherever You Are,” by Robert C. Pozen and Alexandra Samuel, is already the Most Practical Book You’ll Read in 2021, maybe even the decade.As a public service to all leaders and managers who read this review, just cut-and-paste this memo below and send to your work-from-home (WFH) team members today!MEMO TO: ALL REMOTE TEAM MEMBERS#1. GOOD NEWS! You can continue to work in your PJs! It looks like remote working will be here for a while, according to the hot-off-the-press book “Remote, Inc.: How to Thrive at Work . . . Wherever You Are.” (Your new best friend, the Amazon driver, will deliver the book to you this week.)#2. BAD NEWS! A year ago, none of us were prepared to work at home, or at Starbucks, and (how shall I say this graciously?), many of our remote working skillsets need improvement—especially our meetings. (I’ve already picked up a dozen practical pointers on improving my competencies.)#3. GOOD NEWS! You’ve been promoted! Robert Pozen and Alexandra Samuel, the authors of “Remote, Inc.,” recommend you launch your “Business of One.” It’s a brilliant concept and I’d like your help to rethink our “notion of productivity so that it’s no longer defined by the dated concept of a workday.” You’ll love it! (See Chapter 1: “Your Business of One.”) I’m asking ______ to give us a 10-minute summary of Chapter 1 at our next weekly staff meeting. (Who would like to volunteer to review Chapter 2 the following week? Sixteen weekly staff meetings—16 chapter reviews!)#4. BAD NEWS! You’ve read the surveys. Micro-managing bosses (not me!) and our ill-suited remote workspaces created instant burnout for team members. (One survey found that “45 percent of employees were feeling burned out”—after just one month of remote working.) Couple that with what the authors call our “obsession with the eight-hour workday…an obsolete leftover from a previous era,” and it’s no wonder that ______, ______, and ______ exited our organization during COVID. (Yikes!)#5. GOOD NEWS! Fewer and better meetings ahead! (Did I mention “good news?”) I skipped right to Chapter 10: “Making the Most of Meetings” and you’ll see some new features—already—in our next weekly staff meeting. This 20-page chapter is a must-read. Start with the 10 “Takeways” on pages 161-162 (the takeaways are a brilliant feature of every chapter), then read the “From a Remote Worker” testimonial (the book has 16 windows into real life remote workers), and note what they call “The Three Stages of a Meeting” (appetizer, main course, and dessert). Important! Please skip the section, “Three Ways to Avoid a Meeting.” (LOL!)#6. BAD NEWS! Let’s face it, our PowerPoints go on…and on…and on. As ______ recently observed, “Death by PowerPoint!” So…please also read “Five Alternatives to a Slide Deck” and to go deeper, read Chapter 15, “Presentations: Making an Impact,” including “Three Slide Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them.” Be honest now—have any of us ever read even one chapter on slide decks or PowerPoints? The summary has nine takeaways and there’s a short recipe for creating a universal deck. Plus this breaking news: “Not every presentation needs slides!”#7. GOOD NEWS! Based on my last 360 feedback, you’ll be ecstatic to learn that I’ve already read Chapter 3, “Managing a Remote Team.” My goodness! I could have used this practical wisdom a year ago. (I can hear the “Amens” already!) This might be my favorite blurb:“There’s a reason people talk about the ‘art’ of management. It’s never easy, but managing a remote team makes it even more complicated. Being an effective manager means knowing how to delegate, how to foster team collaboration, and how to motivate individual employees.”The authors add, “Managing all of that for a distributed team makes you Ginger Rogers to the conventional workplace’s Fred Astaire: you’re doing everything he does, except backward in high heels.”#8. BAD NEWS. Chapter 3 was convicting—and I need to apologize (which, I guess, is good news!). The authors suggest we leverage four tools/expectations. So, a year late (did I mention I’m sorry?), let’s talk about:• Ground Rules (pages 49-50)• Hours and Contacts (see Chapter 7)• Meetings (see Chapter 10)• Email and Messaging (see Chapter 13)Note: I’m asking ______ to be our champion for “Onboarding a Remote Team Member” (per pages 51-52). I love the suggestion to “give your newbie a digital welcome pack.” No whining, ______, the book says I should delegate more!#9. GOOD NEWS. Whew! This book is absolutely jam-packed with just-in-time wisdom, practical ideas, and dozens of productivity apps I’d like us to try. The street cred of the co-authors is impressive! Robert Pozen is also the author of the bestseller, “Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours.” I’m asking ______ to read and report on his book, and especially his insights (mentioned in both books) on “OHIO” (Only Handle It Once) and how to focus on results, and “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” Alexandra Samuel, author of “Work Smarter with Social Media,” has worked remotely for most of her career, juggling work, marriage, and two sons. Her writing on digital productivity appears frequently in “Harvard Business Review” and “The Wall Street Journal.”#10. BAD NEWS. Oh…if only our team had read “Remote, Inc.” sooner! We would have made better decisions about what the authors call the “Goldilocks Plan.” Some surveys document that 65 to 77 percent of workers expressed a preference for the hybrid model—"not too much time at home, and not too little.” (Read the “Ten Reasons to Go to the Office” and the “Ten Reasons to Work Remotely.”) And don’t skip the conclusion with “Seven Quick Wins for Remote Workers” and “Seven Big Wins for Organizations.”Warmly,YOUR NEW-AND-IMPROVED BOSS!P.S. When Amazon delivers your copy of “Remote, Inc.”—please take a photo of yourself, and your dog, while reading this book in your favorite WFH setting—and text the photo to all of us! (Warning: Do not read page 113!)

I got maybe 25% something out of this. I am self-employed and I own my own business, thus I work for myself. I don't work in the corporate world and I do not have a team under me. So great percentage of this book doesn't apply to me. But what I did glean from this book which is a quarter of the way through (same point I almost DNF'd this book) it did talk about how to break down your task, projects and manage your priorities. Which in any business it is beneficial to learn.

This book comes at a very opportune time. Remote working is something that many of us were forced into over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some of us thrived as part of distributed teams, some of us quite possibly failed, and seemingly most of us got by well enough to keep things moving along. Pozen and Samuel's book offers lessons for all of us on that spectrum of success. For those who have done well, this book shows ways to finesse remote work and collaboration from both the perspective of manager and employee.For those who found that remote work over the past year possibly wasn't for them perhaps due to eroded boundaries between work and personal time, the authors illustrate ways to better plan projects and how to "turn off."For those who managed to get through and are possibly not quite sure if remote work is for them, the authors illustrate how to arrange a hybrid work environment.And for supervisors, the authors go into how to better manage a distributed workforce and best practices in the measurement of productivity that go well beyond measuring "time in seats."

Remote, Inc.: How to Thrive at Work . . . Wherever You Are
⭐ 4.4 💛 56
kindle: $2.39
paperback: $16.27
hardcover: $4.48
Buy the Book