Remote: Office Not Required (Book Review)

Telecommuting, virtual commuting, mobile commuting, teleworking, remote working…whatever you call it, the virtual workplace employment structure has exploded in popularity. The advances in communications technology and virtual collaboration have made it both feasible and economical to escape the traditional office. Working remotely myself for many years, and working with companies that hire remote workers, has made me an enthusiastic believer in the concept. The benefits are virtually endless and it can work for many companies and positions. In fact, it has become more and more common to find companies that are 100% remotely staffed.

Virtual teams and contracted remote work is becoming more popular in Canada too, according to statistics. The 2013 Arcus Human Capital Survey reported that 18% of employed Canadians say they telecommute to one degree or another. A 2013 Bank of Montreal (BMO) poll, Canadian Businesses Report Significant Divide on the Benefits of Telecommuting, indicates 23% of Canadian businesses offer some form of telecommuting or mobile options. 22% of small businesses offered telecommuting options, compared to 47% of large businesses. You’ll find more information and statistics about remote working in Canada in the article, Mobile Commuting / Telecommuting is Increasing in Canada.

While many businesses have entertained the thought of remote working, they are often overwhelmed with uncertainty and intimidated by the logistics of such an endeavor. That’s where books like Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson come in. The authors’ knowledge on the topic is vast, but it’s their hands-on experience that proves to be invaluable. Their company, 37Signals (now Basecamp), operates with a virtual staff of over 40 employees all over the World.

Because of this experience, the authors know what you need to know. They address all common concerns and objections to remote staff, while also pointing out benefits that most people haven’t even thought of. At the same time, they freely admit it isn’t always sunshine and roses and offer helpful suggestions to overcome the challenges faced by remote workers and their employers.

This book first shows us an entirely new workplace paradigm in which the work goes to the worker rather than the worker coming to the work. It enlightens and inspires a new vision of productive, happy staff that can be recruited from anywhere in the world. Then, the authors address common objections, like distractions or a lack of collaboration. They provide a full range of examples and statistics in which companies aren’t just coping well with remote workers, but actually thriving and growing in this empowering work environment.

They don’t just spout theory in this book, they also:

  • Provide situational guidance
  • Suggest tools to help you operate and collaborate remotely
  • Provide tips for good mental and physical health for the remote worker
  • Touch on critical issues like taxes and laws
  • Provide hiring advice
  • Suggest effective and practical management procedures

Whether you’re considering a move to the virtual workspace as an employee or manager, this book will guide you through the process and help pave the way to a successful remote program. It provides information from several viewpoints, including business owner, manager and the employee. It’s a quick, easy read that leaves you feeling thoroughly informed without drowning you in dry details.

The only real issue I had with this book was the profanity. Anyone who is capable of writing a business book should possess the vocabulary to do so without dropping the F-bomb, in my opinion. Otherwise, if you want to know the ins and outs of remote working from any perspective, we recommend you pick up a copy of Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

We give Remote: Office Not Required four maple leaves out of five.
Canadians Internet Business Review

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Mobile Commuting / Telecommuting is Increasing in Canada
Book Review: Marketing to Millennials by J. Fromm and C. Garton


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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on,,, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Wonderful information. Thanks!


Good job. It will be a popular book as things change.


It’s where the future is headed and not too soon!

Lucy Dawson

Going to check this out! I could use the help.