I recently finished two books written by the Basecamp team (ex-37signals): Rework and Remote. While the first one defends a new way of performing work and the period where we are normally at the office, the second book passionately defends remote work. These are must read books for those who want to transform what is currently established in companies.
It was interesting to notice that, unconsciously, 42formas already works in this “modern” format: we are remote, do not have many meetings, but exchange lots of information. Me and Marcos are based in São Paulo and Bethania is in Toronto, Canada. In this case, the time zone works on our behalf. We only have a two (now three) hour difference between both cities and this makes it possible for calls, emails and messages to be exchanged in a timely manner.
The advantage with remote work is that it prioritizes demands. Something very urgent? Call. Medium urgency? A “ping” Skype or Whatsapp message will work just fine. Is there more time to solve this? Send an email.
Solving things outside meeting schedules also helps value the meeting itself. We schedule a conference call at least once a week during a convenient schedule for everyone. In the meantime, we have several interactive moments throughout the week, to get things moving. And we’re only talking about three of us!
At the same time, Marcos works on the communication between our team and partners, which are scattered around São Paulo, Rio and Belo Horizonte. This type of relationship is great because it allows us to focus exclusively on work. It´s kind of like what the Basecamp team says:
“The old adage still applies: No assholes allowed. But for remote work, you need to extend it to no asshole-y behavior allowed, no drama allowed, no bad vibes.”
It’s not easy, but it has worked out. This allows us to devote time to getting the job done well, finding the right people to work with us and valuing the time when we’re physically together.