Alex Rosen was hired by a startup for warping a photo of Bill Gates online. Jason Orendorff was hired because of his horribly written code. You will be hired by Super Cool Place to Work because… well, maybe because you read about landing a remote job in Zack Grossbart’s new book!
I met Zack in the magical land of Twitter probably more than a year ago now. We’ve had several chats there and through email, and I’ve grown to appreciate Zack’s wealth of knowledge when it comes to remote working. And you’re in luck— he took the time to put that knowledge into a book called The One Minute Commute. Zack is posting it all piecemeal as individual blog posts, but since I am too cool for school, I got a sneak peek at the entire thing. Let’s just say, you’d better keep an eye out for new posts.
The One Minute Commute is divided into four sections: Landing a Remote Job, Team Organizations, Communications, and Balance. Each section contains tons of real examples of Zack’s advice in action, with examples from companies like CodeSourcery and 37signals.
First, before you can apply everything in Zack’s book, you’ve got to snag a remote gig. He suggests you make it easy for your potential employer to say “yes.” Help them work out perfomance metrics, or if they have metrics in place, find out what they are. Share examples of how you’ve collaborated. Show you’re easy to communicate with and easy to contact. But whatever you do, don’t turn your interviews into sob stories. Remember, it’s all about what you can do for them. Don’t try reversing that.
Zack has your back after you’re hired too, and he tackles one of remote working’s biggest perceived threats: being invisible. Zack points out that perhaps this fear is tied to our use of involuntary communication. Zack points to Dr. Paul Ekman’s research to discuss body language and how facial expressions are an involuntary form of communication. Remote working simply is not. You have to voluntarily communicate what’s on your mind. There are, however, plenty of steps can be taken to creating a presence for yourself.
Share a photo of yourself, be vocal about your accomplishments, and make time for plenty of small talk. There’s tips for managers of remote workers too. Zack suggests making all decisions public. To do that, use tools like IRC, IM, blogging, and wikis. He’s got eleven pages, stuffed to the brim, just about video demos.
The final section of The One Minute Commute is dedicated to helping you find your balance between work and life. And even though entire books (and industries) are dedicated to this subject alone, this section has sound advice and worthwhile examples to offer as well.
Despite Zack’s obvious support for the telework workforce, he sprinkles the book with an understanding that even remote workers occasionally need to be physically “there.” “Solve big problems face-to-face,” says Zack, “Show your team how important the issue is to you by traveling to resolve it.”