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My Remote Work Manifesto and Why Your Company Needs One

Remote work is the biggest workplace revolution in history and nothing will deliver a higher quality of life increase in the next decade than this. Workers having more flexibility to decide their work schedule, able to operate when they are most productive rather than a fixed time, enables a far better future of work than the one we currently experience. Organizing work around your life is a huge transition with major implications. Gone is the requirement to beg your bosses permission to go to an appointment, it is the ability to drop and pick your child up from work every day with time in the afternoon to go for your recharging run. As such a new way of working is required.

The below is not designed to be a set of commandments.

It’s a starting point that will be improved as remote work grows. If you think anything can be improved or altered, let me know. The Remote Work Manifesto will evolve over time. Much like the Agile Manifesto from which I have taken inspiration it is a framework rather than a fixed set of rules that are to be followed word for word.

We are uncovering better ways of working remotely by doing it and helping others do it as well.

Through this work we have come to value:

1. 🤝 Trust over surveillance culture

Remote assumes trust rather than expecting people to earn it.

2. 🎮 Control your life over living to work

Remote is about organizing work around your life rather than the other way around.

3. 📅 Flexibility of time over set schedules

Remote gives you the freedom to work when you’re most productive to do your best work

4. 🚀 Autonomy in tasks over fixed processes

Remote gives you control over how you complete your tasks. Open objectives give you the autonomy to decide how to do them.

While there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Principles behind the Remote Manifesto

We follow these:

  • The highest priority is to improve workers quality of life concerns by addressing their life-work balance
  • Encourage the transition from a time-based work culture to one that is judged by measurable output performance
  • A deep willingness to share and learn from the best practices of other remote teams
  • Office and remote based staff must work together in order for the future of work to benefit everyone
  • Embrace asynchronous working styles over the instantaneous gratification of synchronous working
  • Seek diversity of everything. The less homogenous a team is the more capable it will become
  • Remote work is the opportunity to do your best work with the fewest distractions
  • Great work is the measure of success
  • Issolation if a feature, not a bug
  • Great written communication and documentation are table stakes for success. The willingness to read then respond thoughtfully critical to your continued success
  • Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential
  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly

The 2020s will be the Remote Work Decade

Being handcuffed to an office and expected to live in a high cost of living city with a low quality of life is a remnant of the industrial revolution. The devolution of offices into almost factory-like conditions as distraction factory adult kids clubs is complete. The office has literally become the worst place on the planet to get the issolation and focus you need to do deep work.

Make no mistake, remote work is exploding to prominence right now. We are living through the inflection point today. Shortly, workers will realize their power and influence to demand remote work.

I actually think I’m being pessimistic when I state that remote work will be the dominant form of work within a decade. If the right tools exist it will be more like 5 years.

123m people+ working remotely in 2024/2025

There’s a real possibility that’s how soon it will happen. The sooner you make the transition the better. Great workers with an evidenced ability to work remotely will be the most sought after team members in the world within 2–3 years. With that being said I feel it’s critical that I nail my bias for the rise of remote work to the post. Most authors won’t give you firm predictions about where they think the world is headed. I feel that if I don’t provide something that this piece can be market against, it loses weight. Here are the 33 trends I predict will be most important as remote work rises to dominate every workspace:

1. 🏦 Third Space

Office and Working from Home will be joined by somewhere close by that a number of people will use

Supermarkets or local bank branches should emerge as a convenient ubiquitous location option — if they are smart

2. ⏰ Asynchronous Work

Offices are instantaneous gratification distraction factories where synchronous work makes it impossible to get stuff done

Tools that enable asynchronous work are the most important thing globally remote teams need. A lot of startups will try to tackle this

3. ⚽️ Hobbie Renaissance

Remote working will lead to a rise in people participating in hobbies and activities which link them to people in their local community

This will lead to deeper, more meaningful relationships which overcome societal issues of loneliness and issolation

4. 🚜 Rural Living

World-class people will move to smaller cities, have a lower cost of living & higher quality of life

These regions must innovate quickly to attract that wealth. Better schools, faster internet connections are a must

5. 🌐 Constant Presence

Asynchronous work lets you have the issolation to do deep work but it’s not always required

Communication solutions which enable presence, like an open mic while gaming, will become more compelling

6. 👨‍🔬 Bad Tech

Remote will grow so popular so quickly that it will attract people who have no interest in it other than greed — like blockchain/crypto in 2017

Their lack of understanding of remote work will lead to them replicating the bad parts of office working remotely

7. 🤬 Remote Rejection

Certain demographics and generations will reject the transition. Their benefit — that everyone in the office is like them and it’s easier for them to progress — will be their reason

Companies that don’t transition will be left behind

8. 🌍 Diversity & Inclusion

The most diverse and inclusive teams in history will emerge rapidly

Companies who embrace it have a first-mover advantage to attract great talent globally

Companies who don’t will lose their best people to their biggest competitors

9. ✅ Output focus

Time will be replaced as the main KPI for judging performance by productivity and output. Great workers will be the ones who deliver what they promise consistently

Advancement decisions will be decided by capability rather than who you drink beer with after work

10. 🚘 1 Car Households

The rise of remote will have tremendous indirect benefits towards slashing pollution

Families will benefit from only needing one car slashing cost of living, potentially cutting commuting a lot

11. 💰 Private Equity

the hottest trend of the next decade for private equity will see them purchase companies, make them remote-first

The cost saving in real-estate at scale will be eye-watering. The productivity gains will be the final nail in the coffin for the office

12. ☠️ The death of Coworking

The last recession was the beginning of the end for bespoke vanity office

The next recession will spell the same thing for co-working spaces

The rise of remote will mean a majority of the 255m desk jobs globally are remote by 2029

13. 💘 Talent Wars

Remote work is the perk that is most sought after by workers globally. This will only increase

Remote-first companies will disrupt every incumbent who doesn’t/isn’t able to make that transition

14. ✍️ Written Communication

the most important skill for workers to cultivate. Reading and understanding also key

Cultural issues arising from misunderstanding meaning behind the way people write becomes a big issue

15. 😴 Working Too Much

Companies worry that the workers won’t work enough when operating remotely.

The opposite will be true and become a big problem

Remote workers burning out because they work too much will have to be addressed

16. 👀 Distraction Avoidance

The home office will skyrocket in popularity. A space at home to get away a necessity

There will be an explosion of people purchasing standalone units for their backyards for this.

17. 🌍 Global Citizens

Individuals with no national attachment become ubiquitous. Challenges of paying people cross border due to compliance and legal issues slowly fade away as the world becomes more borderless

18. ✈️ Retreat Destinations

Global hubs will pop-up that cater to remote teams getaways

Resort-like escapes with a deep focus on team building, collaboration, planning, and efficiency. Hotels with facilitators /coaches who assist teams for the duration

19. ❤️ Life-Work Balance

The rise of remote will lead to people re-prioritizing what is important to them

Organizing your work around your life will be the first noticeable switch. People realizing they are more than there job will lead to a deeper purpose in other areas

20. 💹 Fractional Ownership

remote work will make advancement less important/more difficult

Rather than reward being a better title, fractional ownership could enable workers to be more easily rewarded with ownership of their companies/make the market for equity more liquid

21. 💩 Bullshit Tasks

The need to pad out your 8 hour day will evaporate, replaced by clear tasks and responsibilities

Workers will do what needs to be done rather than wasting their trying to look busy with the rest of the office

22. 🌏 Decentralized Opportunity

Remote work will do more for inequality than anything in history. Workers everywhere will find the best, highest paying job

The fear that this will depreciate wages will be unfounded as companies will need more talent than exists

23. ♿️ Accessible Jobs

Remote work will make work more accessible than it has ever been

Nothing will stop workers getting the job they deserve because there will be no obstacles in their way

24. 🛠️ Remote Tools

Companies operating remotely now will have created tools every remote team on the planet needs

@Zapier, @Gitlab, @GitHub, @FirstbaseHQ will spawn Mafias who take these internal tools and create startups around them

Several $Billion Startups to emerge this way

25. 🤹‍♀️ Multiple Jobs

The gig/freelancer economy will evolve. Remote work allows workers to have multiple employers

The difference in terms of reliability and consistency will be huge, eradicating doubt, lead to better conditions for workers

26. 📈 Remote Jobs

There won’t be enough remote jobs for at least the next 5 years. World-class people will drive the change

They will demand more remote opportunities and realize the influence they have to make their companies give it to them

27. 💾 Remote Infrastructure

The focus on the sexy won’t change any time soon

There is a missing half of remote work that’s neglected because it’s difficult, boring, and unsexy

It will be the most critical. Until that’s solved remote teams won’t scale globally easily

28. 🎴No Code

Will grows to dominate creation

@webflow, @figmadesign, amongst others will democratize access unlike ever before. Remote workers who have an area of expertise and one of these broad skills will be unicorns at first before everyone else realizes the need

29. 🤗 Social Contact

Loneliness, disconnection neither improved or worsened by remote work

A number of people’s main social contact comes at work, with people decided by their bosses hiring policy

Remote work must lead to deeper more meaningful relationships with friends/family

30. 🧘‍♂️Health & Wellbeing

A lack of commute will give workers 25 extra days a year to do other things

Workers will exploit the freedom they have to organize things more freely in their day. Afternoon runs, morning meditation, 2 things a lot of people I know now do

31. 👶 Child Connection

Hearing your child’s first laugh, seeing their first steps won’t just be in the memory of one parent

Being there, feeling like your children know you. Dropping them at school each day. Small things that remote gives

32. 🎫 Visa Issues

The problem with workers having to leave a job due to the expiry of their visas will no longer exist

Companies won’t accept losing their best people simply because their right to be in a specific country expires

Remote will be an easy option

33. 🌎 International Talent

Great for developing countries. International companies will access to talent globally

Access to opportunity will be decentralized

34. 👑 Job Title Death

What your job title is will become more irrelevant as remote work becomes more prominent

What you do, what you’re capable of, the tools you can wield will enable you to do jobs that break you free from the shackles of a title

35. 🛠️ Universal Tools

Global workforce that understands and the same SAAS services means technical debt for training =$0

Companies add another seat to SaaS platform and worker uses the same tool they would use if they were in an office or with a different company

36. 👴 Older Workforce

Boomers may be standing in the way of the remote work revolution happening quickly, believe least in its benefits, lack the trust for it to emerge

Ironically, remote work will allow them to work far more easily later in life

Remote Work Myths

The criticism of remote work is largely wrong and driven by people who have never worked this way. If someone has not worked remotely, their criticisms can be largely dismissed. That doesn’t mean there are no challenges, there are.

In order to better understand the challenges we need to address whether, and to what extent these are true. As the office begins to fade from relevance, a vocal minority fight for it’s continued domination as the default location of work. Not only does that miss the point of why remote work is inevitable, it argues in favor of a form of working that is wasteful in every single way. The reason remote work will replace office working is that it is 10X better. The benefits on every side — worker, company, environmental — are so significant that it can’t be ignored.

In truth, the office has last longer than it should have already. Technology that enables the remote work revolution has existed for the best part of half a decade. The requisite communication, collaboration, and documentation tools have existed for so long many have them have already made it to the public markets. At the same time super-fast internet connections being widely available ensure those software work the way they were meant to in any remote location that has access.

1. 🗣 Face to face is always better

Reality: Less office drama as it takes more work to Zoom/write someone to gossip vs meeting someone at the water cooler

Illness is reduced massively as germs don’t spread in an office. Face to face interaction is redistributed from idle gossip to focus on getting work done.

2. 🤝 Some people’s main social contact comes at work

Reality: Your boss selecting your closest social contact is a very bad situation.

Remote work lets you develop deeper relationships with friends/family, more freedom for hobbies to meet like-minded people.

3. ✋ But I made some of my best friends in the office

How do you know you wouldn’t have made those friends remotely?

Gamers meet some of their closest friends online — they have more in common because they have a greater influence on who’s on the other side

4. 👥 collaboration suffers

Reality: collaboration changes

Asynchronous allow more focussed communication while giving people the issolation they need to do deep work. People still come together when they choose to, not every five minutes when they are interrupted

5. 🌐 How can I trust them to work

Reality: remote workers often work too much

If you don’t trust workers to do their professional duty, you shouldn’t have hired them

6. ☕️ Most of our problems are solved in breakout areas

Reality: this rarely happens

Instead, a culture of wasted time to pad out an 8 hour day is explained away by this platitude

7. ☹️ What about the loneliness?

Reality: you spend more time with your friends and family and develop deeper more meaningful relationships

The office leads to shallow/narrow relationships which don’t typically defeat loneliness

8. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Our office and colleague are like a family

Reality: it’s not. The office is a cult designed to make you voluntarily sacrifice your time for the machine

9. ⏰ Timezones are so hard

Reality: timezones take work

The synchronous working conditions within the instantaneous gratification distraction factories that offices have become have led us to believe that immediate answers are required.

This is a failure of planning/process

10. 💪 Teamwork is our Superpower

Reality: meetings and bureaucratic nonsense stands in the way of teams constantly

Communication and collaboration software is now so good it’s comparable.

Not equivalent, but very good

11. 🎼 Our culture is what differentiates us

Reality: culture is largely homogeneous and lacks diversity.

The office is a great environment for some people — everyone is like them, hiring decisions made on the strength of social bonds formed out of hours — terrible for everyone else

12. 🤝 Nothing beats synchronous working

Reality: An excuse for wasting time.

More meetings, more email to make people feel productive. Time is the main KPI.

Output should be the only thing that matters. That is what remote is.

13. 🍺 Advancement is more difficult

Reality: the office makes it easier for certain demographics because promotions are decided not just on the quality of work you do.

Remote work only cares about how you perform. The office still works on politics and who you drink with out of hours

14. 🔥 Our Culture sets us apart

Reality: It is largely homogeneous and prevents you being as diverse as you should be

More diverse teams breed better cultures, offices self-select for more of the same people because you want it to stay the same

15. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 We are a family

Reality: This is the cult of office speaking. You might spend most time with your colleagues but when things hit the fan you see that family only sticks together as long as things are up and to the right and you are performing

16. 🥘 We offer food

Reality: You use tools which elongate the time spent at the office to extract a surplus of hours from workers voluntarily

This typically leads to burn out and is a reason why workers end up feeling a lack of purpose from their work

17. 🏓 The office environment is better

Reality: It is if you prefer an adult kids club type of atmosphere dominated by table tennis and foosball

Most workers want to do their work and enjoy doing that. Gimmicks for entertainment are a distraction

18. 🌃 The city is better

Reality: Being in the city forces your workers to have a high cost of living.

This makes it more difficult for them to have a high quality of life. It demand that they are in a specific geographic location rather than where they want to be

Those are the issues before seeing negatives of office working

There are a huge number of those but I’m going to focus on the 5 most important which will mean companies who don’t go remote will be replaced by companies who do very quicky

1. 🌍 Local Talent

The office means you can only hire the best person you can afford in a 30 mile radius around it — remote work means you can hire the best person in the world.

Which company do you think wins with everything else being equal

2. 💥 Distraction as default

The office is a distraction factory, instantaneous gratification of synchronous work makes it impossible to do deep work.

Asynchronous working should be default for every knowledge worker. That’s remote work

3. 🚘 The Commute

On average, office workers waste 22 days of their life a year sitting in a metal coffin travelling to work

This is your time, you never get it back. In that time I now read, eat with family and workout. Health and well-being become important because I have time for them again.

4. 🙋Retention is a huge problem

It is expensive and takes a long time to train each replacement

Companies that don’t go remote will lose their best people to their biggest competitors who offer remote work first.

5. 💰 Real estate costs will be a major red flag for investors

It will be seen as a wasteful, egotistical, capital expense and tell investors you don’t have the best talent possible

Fear of Remote Work Will Kill Companies

You can see it happening already. Scared to act, leading to a paralysis of progress. Innovation is inevitable and those who move to embrace and understand it benefit from a deeper understanding more quickly. Office-first companies will lose most of their best people to their remote-first competitors. As the most talented go remote, the talent gap will increase rapidly. Companies who don’t go remote will die slowly as they bleed their best talent, then quickly as they can’t compete.

Hiring best talent in a 30-mile radius of an office disqualifies you from 99.9% of world’s talent. Each hire lowers the average ability of office-first compared to remote competitor.

Some Statistics to Back up the argument?

🍪 3 in 5 knowledge workers (57 percent) say the option to work remotely is one of the perks they’d most prefer to be offered by an employer.

  • free daily lunch (42%)
  • unlimited vacation time (39%)
  • recreational activities, e.g. ping pong/foosball (25%)

🏡42% of knowledge workers believe they are most productive working from home.

🏢32 % feel they get more done in an office.

👴52% of Baby Boomers say home is where they are most productive, only 38% of Millennials.

🧶 only 11% of Baby Boomers work remotely full time, as opposed to 31% of Millennials.

👩Women are more likely to say they are more productive when working from home (50% vs. 37% of men)

👨Men are more likely to say they’re more productive in the office (35% vs. 27% of women).

❤️ Full-time remote knowledge workers spend more hours, on average, each workday doing meaningful work (i.e., work that has significance/purpose) compared to their office worker counterparts.

  • 6.2 hours for remote workers
  • 5.7 hours for office-bound ones

💥 66% of knowledge workers think the office will disappear by 2030.

⚡️ 71% Millennials believe the traditional office will be replaced with most positions being done remotely

🏡 84% of remote workers work from home

  • coworking spaces (8%)
  • coffee shops (4%)
  • libraries (0.5%)
  • other places (3%)

✈️ 44% of remote workers travel while working between one week and one month per year

🌎 25% do this more than one month of the year

📧 Email me

Interested in remote work?

Building any of these predictions? Got any ideas or thoughts on the most important things that will emerge

I want to help you 👇👇

Written by

CEO / Founder / Coach @FirstbaseHQ Empowering people to work in their lives not live at work ✌️✌

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