Download The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work: A Free eBook from Zapier

Wade Foster
Wade Foster / April 8, 2015

Building, managing and working in a remote team is becoming more and more common. However, best practices are still hard to come by. For the last 43 months, Zapier has grown as an entirely distributed team. We've shared a lot of what we've learned along the way and it struck a chord with many of you. Our posts on remote work have been read over 1,000,000 times combined.

We started to notice, however, much of what we wrote was getting a bit stale, and it was also pretty hard to find all of the best articles we'd written on remote work. So we went back and rewrote all of our old posts, added a few new posts, and packaged it into an ebook titled The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work.

All told, it's 14 chapters packed with everything we've learned along the way. We also kept the old versions of the posts available too so you can see how our internal processes have changed as we've grown. You can read the book online, get a downloadable PDF, or send a copy to your Kindle as well. Best of all, it's free.

So if you're at all interested in building or working in a remote team, this book is for you.

Remote Work Guide

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Here's a short preview of each section.

Building a Remote Team

The Zapier team on a retreat

Behind every successful company is a well-constructed team. That's true whether your employees are sitting in cubicles outside your office, or in a coffee shop on the other side of the country.

But assembling a remote team creates unique challenges that you might not face in a shared workspace.

Remote teams need to think hard about what kind of culture they want to create, and how their work will reflect that culture. They need to pick their tools—like team chat apps and collaboration software—with extreme care, since they'll use those tools build the company.

Hiring gets tricky because you need to find skilled people who you trust to get work done on their own; you can't peek over their shoulder. Then, you need to learn how to give those teammates helpful feedback from afar, so they can continue to grow.

The first section of this eBook explains how Zapier and other remote teams have tackled those challenges head-on. We'll teach you how to cultivate a culture, a focus on feedback, and a top-notch hiring process, even with an ocean between you and your nearest teammate.

Communicating in a Remote Team

Slack GIFs

When your coworkers live all over the world, you can't just stop by someone's desk to ask a question. Instead, you'll need to ping them in your team chat app, or see if they're around for a video call.

But remember: you're dealing with time zones and varying work schedules. There's no guarantee that your teammate will be available—or even awake—when you need their advice.

So how can you connect and collaborate with coworkers when you aren't sitting next to each other?

This section of our eBook covers communication, the crux of any remote team's success. It's about how to run a meeting via video, build relationships without face-to-face conversations, and eliminate email from your communication toolbox. Plus, you'll learn how our team makes the most of in-person interactions at the Zapier company retreats.

Working on a Remote Team

remote work office

The benefits of remote work are well documented: flexible hours, a bed-to-desk commute, and the freedom to live anywhere, to name a few.

It sounds like paradise, but remote workers wrestle with problems that co-located employees don't. For example, when the lines are blurred between home and work, it's tough to know when to call it a day, leading to major burnout. Plus, you need to deal with time zones, distractions, and maintaining your productivity.

But if you can overcome the challenges, there are major advantages. Remote teams spend less time on travel and meetings, which means they can work faster than they would in a traditional office setting. Factor in the power to design your own workspace and pick your own equipment, and remote workers are in an ideal position to optimize their time "at the office."

The final section of our eBook puts you in the shoes of a remote worker. You'll learn what a remote office looks like, why remote teams work faster, and how to avoid common work-from-home pitfalls.

We couldn't have written all of this—or been as successful at remote work ourselves—if it were not for the advice and pointers we've received from other remote teams. So, in the final chapter, you'll find a roundup of the best advice we've found from remote teams, including articles, books, podcasts and more about how to make it as a distributed team.

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