Remote Work Doesn’t Mean Zoom Calls Instead of Office Meetings

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This is a post of David Heinemeir Hansson’s Twitter thread in response to a WSJ article titled “Companies Start To Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All.

DHH is the creator of Ruby on Rails, the Founder of Basecamp, and the author of many best-selling books about remote work.

Here’s the thread:

It’s not surprising that companies that refuse to put in the work to become a proper remote organization think remote is a bust. It’s hard to change your old ways, but it’s worth trying!

It’s really sad to see that all these executives have such a limited conception of remote work that it’s reduced to “doing zoom calls”. Ehhhh. I guess it’s the least possible effort you can do: Repeat office meeting culture into video-call meeting culture. But it’s a weak step.

I guess this is the inevitable trough of disillusion. We’ve collectively proven that remote can absolutely be done. But now some executives are longing for the good ol’ times where they could just keep working like they had for decades prior. Push through it. Seek the level up.

So to repeat: The key transition when striving to do remote work better is to change the default from synchronous, verbal collaboration to asynchronous, written collaboration. Here’s a guide to get you started.

If you’re a software development organization, we wrote up our methodology. It’s called Shape Up, and it’s designed specifically to lean on asynchronous, written collaboration. Stop grinding those gears.

Of course, we also wrote the original guide to remote work with REMOTE: Office Not Required – seven years ago! – which detail how to make the transition in terms of culture, communication, productivity, etc.

I've been building digital businesses, wandering the world, and writing about optimizing life for freedom since early 2017. My mission is to lower the barrier for people who want to live with more freedom: whether that be as an entrepreneur, a digital nomad, an early retiree, or just as someone who wants to live a happiness-driven life.