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11 Best Books on Remote Work: Steal the Genius of Others’ Experience

You don’t have to waste countless years and resources to do it right.

While remote work has been possible for decades, we’re only now seeing companies take it mainstream.

Maybe that’s because we’ve been stuck in society’s 9-5 schedule for too long, nobody daring to break the model. Maybe it’s because the needs of the pandemic forced us into innovative work strategies. Or maybe it’s because we’ve been insistent on using technology to further social habits instead of work ones for the last thirty years.

But long before mass adoption, there have been outliers who took to remote work very early. These pioneers have 5, 10, or even 20+ years of experience navigating the challenges of remote work (and there are plenty of challenges).

Fortunately for us, many of these early adopters have written books about their experience with remote work, highlighting how to get things right from the start.

Why You Should Read Books About Remote Work

Successful remote work is so much more than just recreating the office at home.

Yet most employers do just that, switching in-person meetings to Zoom calls and keeping everything else the same. But as most books written by experienced remote workers will show you, this strategy is doomed to fail.

There’s no use in reinventing the wheel. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the 11 best books on remote work. We’ve categorized this list in four ways:

  1. Overviews: Snapshots of the many different aspects of running a remote company.
  2. Leadership: How to be a great leader in a remote setting (one of the most difficult and important parts of remote work).
  3. Culture: There’s no arguing that remote work culture is different from in-person. When you’re not seeing people every day, what can you do to build relationships in a healthy way? These books will help with that.
  4. For the Employee: Books you can recommend to new team members (or even buy for them as a part of their remote onboarding) so you can better prepare them for the realities of remote work.

The Best Books on Remote Work to Get it Right From the Start

We’ve put together a list of trusted, well-reviewed books so you know your time consuming them is well spent.

These are the best books on remote work:

1. Remote: Office Not Required

Remote Work Overview

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson have been working remotely for over 20 years. The bestselling authors and founders of 37signals (the makers of Basecamp and email software Hey) know a thing or two about what it takes to work remotely and grow a business.

In Remote: Office Not Required, you’ll learn:

  • Why the time is right for remote work
  • How to deal with the excuses that come with it
  • Effective remote collaboration
  • Cabin fever, working with clients, check-in and check-outs
  • Hiring (and keeping) the best talent
  • Management practices for remote workers
  • Holistic life as a remote worker

This book also includes some resources for remote workers and managers so you can implement what they teach easier. It takes a common-sense approach to the digital age, something that’s often missing in a world still operating on a 1950s, 9-5 work structure. You’ll find their tone direct, humorous, and full of the most important pieces you need to know without all the fluff.

Buy Remote: Office Not Required here.

2. Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere

Remote Work Overview

If you’re curious about why remote work seems to have suddenly boomed, and want to gain a further understanding about the biggest pieces of resistance toward the shift, this is the book for you.

The author explores how to relaunch your company for remote work, trusting colleagues when you don’t see them in person, tools and project management software to use, and overall remote work leadership.

Buy Remote Work Revolution here.

3. The Long Distance Leader

Remote Work Leadership

Poor leadership at any company will result in challenges. This is even more true for remote companies. Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel, owners of Remote Leadership Institute (a company dedicated to coaching remote and hybrid teams to succeed) understand just how important it is to have quality people from the top down.

But remote work isn’t intuitive. You may need a different set of skills in order to do well as a leader with a remote team.

In The Long Distance Leader, you’ll learn tactics like:

  • Remote and hybrid work models to use
  • How to achieve your outcomes, even from afar
  • How to engage with your employees, including dealing with politics, trust, and communication tools you can use
  • Internal reflection and growth for you as an individual

Buy The Long Distance Leader here.

4. Leading From Anywhere: The Essential Guide to Managing Remote Teams

Remote Work Leadership

The author David Burkus, a professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University, has delivered keynote speeches for major companies, including Google and Microsoft. And it doesn’t take long to guess where the insights in this book come from.

Burkus touches on many aspects of remote work, not just leadership. You’ll learn about remote culture, hiring best practices, forming bonds in a virtual setting, running meetings, managing performance, as well as many other leadership needs in remote work.

Buy Leading From Anywhere here.

5. Influencing Virtual Teams: 17 Tactics That Get Things Done With Your Remote Employees

Remote Work Leadership

Author Hassan Osman is a self-proclaimed “couch manager,” promoting the fact that he can help you be a better manager, even if you manage from your couch.

Influencing Virtual Teams takes a look at 17 methods you can use as a leader to get your team on the same page and do great work together, including:

  • Influencing your team
  • Setting deadlines
  • Explaining tasks
  • Increasing reliability
  • Steps to ensure commitments
  • And many more…

It also includes information about manager etiquette regarding remote meetings, emailing, and voice messaging.

Buy Influencing Virtual Teams here.

6. Rituals for Virtual Meetings: Creative Ways to Engage People and Strengthen Relationships

Remote Work Leadership

In this book, authors Kursat Ozenc and Glenn Fajardo take a look at a specific piece of remote work that differs greatly from in-person: virtual meetings.

When all you have is a screen to engage with, it can be hard to maintain attention and productivity when your team does meet. Whether it’s for status meetings, company-wide announcements, strategic conversations, or even teaching (like in a classroom or coaching pod), this book will touch on each aspect of a meeting.

Those aspects include:

  • Beginning and ending rituals
  • Rituals for focus, engagement, and flow
  • Rejuvenation tactics
  • Creating connection and relationship building
  • Plus more about using virtual meetings outside of the office.

Buy Rituals for Virtual Meetings here.

7. Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore, a Manifesto

Remote Work Culture

If you’re looking for something to really shake up your views on remote work, this is a great book for you. Bryan Miles, Co-Chair and Co-Founder of BELAY, wrote this book to dissect the 20th century ideologies we seem to be stuck with in the 21st century.

You’ll be faced with some hard truths in this book, including sections with titles like “let’s bury Henry Ford” and “make your landlord cry”. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a current take on not just remote work, but our work culture in general, check out this book.

Buy Virtual Culture here.

8. Office Optional: How to Build a Connected Culture with Virtual Teams

Remote Work Culture

Once again we’re taking a look at building a quality culture in a remote setting. It’s not easy to help your team bond and form the relationships necessary to work well, be creative, and innovate together.

Larry English authors this book as the cofounder of a consulting firm that helps businesses adjust to an increasingly digitized world.

This is a more in-depth option, as it covers digging deep into what you want for your culture, the most important parts of creating culture, hiring practices to amplify your desired culture, and much more. Not only will you get resources to help enhance culture, you’ll walk away with tangible steps to implement and start asap.

Buy Office Optional here.

9. Work Together Anywhere: A Handbook for Working Remotely—Successfully—for Individuals, Teams, and Managers

Remote Work for the Employee

You’re not just responsible for making sure your company is operating at a high level for remote work. As the leader, manager, or even owner, it’s your job to also equip individuals within your team with the resources they need to succeed as well.

This book by Kristen Janene-Nelson and Lisette Sutherland is one to pass along to new hires or even long tenured employees who seem to be struggling with remote work.

It covers areas of remote work like:

  • Why remote work and its flexibility are valuable
  • Getting set up to work remotely
  • Self-evaluations to determine where you need help working remotely

This book will not only have nuggets for you as a manager, it will also help you understand what your individual team members need to succeed.

Buy Work Together Anywhere here.

10. The New Corner Office: How the Most Successful People Work From Home

Remote Work for the Employee

Laura Vanderkam is a speaker and author of all-things work-life balance. She has several books, with this one focusing on the keys to success when working from home.

She includes many ideas and tactics that might seem radical to some, like “Manage by Task, Not Time”.

This book is short and to the point, with only 66 pages. But it’s packed with real-world tips that are easy to apply and will help any remote worker (manager or otherwise) work better from home.

Buy The New Corner Office here.

11. Work From Home Hacks: 500+ Easy Ways to Get Organized, Stay Productive, and Maintain a Work-Life Balance While Working From Home

Remote Work for the Employee

This is another one by Laura Vanderkam. In this book, she tackles the challenges of working from home specifically. We all know that if you’re not careful, remote work burnout becomes a real challenge in your workplace.

You’ll find so much value packed into this 256 page read that highlights everything from creating your office for remote work, to which browser you should use, habits to make the transition from home-to-work easier, and much more.

We definitely recommend adding this one to your remote onboarding checklist.

Buy Work From Home Hacks here.

You don’t need to read hundreds of books about remote work to give it a try. What you do need are some proven, reliable methods you can use to get it right from the start.

Any of the books on this list will steer you in the right direction. So start reading, and put yourself and your team in a better position to maximize the benefits of remote work.

And if you’re looking for new ways to improve your remote work, consider the all-new Basecamp. It has everything you need (and nothing you don’t) to do your best work and keep everyone up to speed. Best of all, you can get started for free in just 30 seconds:

Learn with Basecamp.

In addition to our books and blogs, we write articles filled with practical
advice on project management, remote work, honest marketing,
building a business, and making work a little less crazy.

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