Best remote work books for business in 2024

Best Remote Work Books for Business in 2024

Remote work is here to stay. However, companies need to ensure remote workers can connect safely and efficiently. Balancing convenience, employee freedom, and data security takes skill and judgment. And it also requires a little creativity to support remote workers while meeting business goals.

If you are grappling with remote work challenges, this blog is for you. We will explore some of the most accessible and informative remote work books. There are plenty of entertaining experts around (and a few imposters). But the books below are all essential additions to your management bookshelf.

Benefits and challenges with remote working employees

Working from home is a fundamental part of modern life. As of 2024, around 33 million Americans work remotely. Virtually all workers would like the option of working remotely sometimes. And almost 30% of workers have adopted a "hybrid work" routine, mixing office time and work from home.

Employees are embracing remote work because they want to. Working from home allows staff to find the right work-life balance. Workers can balance childcare, leisure, and work. And they can forget about stressful commutes.

For companies, remote work boosts employee happiness and reduces the cost of on-premises systems. Home workers are often more productive (although not always), and companies can leverage national or international talent pools.

On the other hand, managing remote teams brings challenges. Managers need to communicate effectively and keep workers motivated. Building teams is tricky without face-to-face contact. And then there are security worries.

Remote work often requires exchanging sensitive data between central or cloud data centers and homes or public networks. Employees need third-party remote access to apps and databases. This access creates new and potentially harmful data risks.

None of these challenges are insurmountable. If they were, millions of employees would permanently return to the office, but that is not happening. Creative companies are finding ways to benefit from working from home without risking their reputations.

Successful firms also leverage expert advice and constantly expand their remote work knowledge. Head straight to the list below for our recommended reading, or check out these related articles to explore remote work further:

Best books to read about remote work

Titles for remote work managers to dive into:

  • “The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work”

  • “Remote: Office Not Required”

  • “Remote Work: Redesign Processes, Practices and Strategies to Engage a Remote Workforce”

  • “Running Remote: Master the Lessons from the World’s Most Successful Remote-Work Pioneers”

  • “Remote Not Distant: Design a Company Culture That Will Help You Thrive in a Hybrid Workplace”

  • “Office Optional: How to Build a Connected Culture with Virtual Teams”

  • “Leading From Anywhere: The Essential Guide to Managing Remote Teams”

  • “Work Together Anywhere: A Handbook on Working Remotely Successfully”

  • “The Nowhere Office: Reinventing Work and the Workplace of the Future”

  • “Remote Leadership: How to Accelerate Achievement and Create a Community in a Work-from-Home World”

  • “How the Future Works: Leading Flexible Teams to Do The Best Work of Their Lives”

  • “Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere”

  • “HBR Guide to Remote Work”

  • “Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore, a Manifesto”

  • “Deep Work”

  • “The Nowhere Office: Reinventing Work and the Workplace of the Future”

That list should occupy even the most voracious readers. So, let's turn the page and introduce 2024's best remote work books.

“The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work” by Wade Foster, Alison Groves, and Danny Schreiber

The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work

Billing itself as the "ultimate guide" sets expectations high for this Zapier App publication, but the authors deliver. Based on the real-world experiences of Zapier CEO Wade Foster and his team, the book discusses practical struggles and solutions. Always avoiding jargon, it explains how to build remote teams and make them run smoothly.

Check for the latest Kindle version of the eBook, as the authors update the text frequently. Regular updates mean that few books are as fresh and relevant.

“Remote: Office Not Required”  by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Remote: Office Not Required

First published in 2013, "Office Not Required" set the trend for remote working manuals. Ten years later, it remains relevant and inspirational.

Fried and Hansson used their experiences as founders of project management start-up Basecamp. What makes their argument persuasive is the process Basecamp followed, moving from assumptions about on-premises work to embracing remote alternatives.

Although written from a CEO perspective, the book is equally valid for workers, so anyone can benefit from it.

“Remote Work: Redesign Processes, Practices and Strategies to Engage a Remote Workforce” by Chris Dyer and Kim Shepherd

Remote Work Redesign Processes, Practices and Strategies

Moving to remote work is a business process requiring systematic planning and skill. Dyer and Shepherd know the task inside-out, having shifted their teams to home working during the Covid pandemic.

This book is ideal for managers seeking to structure remote work transitions. For instance, Dyer and Shepherd discuss writing remote work policies and using digital tools to secure workstations. They also discuss HR and management strategies to support employees and delve into measurement techniques to verify remote work productivity. Managers will find it an invaluable companion.

“Running Remote: Master the Lessons from the World’s Most Successful Remote-Work Pioneers”  by Liam Martin and Rob Rawson

Running Remote

Rawson and Martin founded Time Doctor to help workers with time management. However, Time Doctor encountered problems when transitioning to a remote model. "Running Remote" chronicles the experience, adding advice about how to leverage remote workforce technologies. Honest and very readable, it makes a convincing case for going remote. But it also adds context about dangers and challenges.

One of the best aspects of this book is what the authors call the "async mindset." Stripping away the jargon, this is a valuable framework for managing remote staff and ditching old-style meetings or management techniques.

“Remote Not Distant: Design a Company Culture That Will Help You Thrive in a Hybrid Workplace” by Gustavo Razzetti

Remote Not Distant

As Razzetti observes, one of the best things about remote work is that it separates employees from static offices, allowing them to work wherever they want. However, one of the drawbacks of remote work is the distance between workers and managers. Solving this problem is tricky - at least without the advice contained in this fascinating book.

Easy to read but well-informed, Razzetti's book explains how to mold remote work mindsets and manage distributed teams. He explores ways to build a remote corporate culture and collaborate seamlessly across continents. In other words, there's plenty of gold here for managers to discover.

“Office Optional: How to Build a Connected Culture with Virtual Teams” by  Larry English

Office Optional

Larry English blazed a trail in remote work, helping to build one of the first remote-first consultancy firms. He also timed this book perfectly to coincide with the Covid pandemic. More importantly, he filled this primer with invaluable stats and management wisdom.

Readers can glean a lot of insights from "Office Optional". Some of the most memorable sections deal with building trust across the oceans and maintaining close professional relationships with colleagues you barely ever meet. As English stresses, relationships are everything in remote work. But with the right mindset and skills, a remote leader can unify and inspire even the most dispersed team.

Leading From Anywhere: The Essential Guide to Managing Remote Teams

Leading From Anywhere

Burkus has written the how-to manual for remote managers. "Leading from Anywhere" sets out critical tasks for smooth remote work. It covers employee onboarding, performance reviews, communication, preventing burnout, and building a healthy remote culture.

Burkus tackles each subject with a mixture of best practices and real-life testimonies. By the end of his book, you should be ready for whatever remote work transitions come your way.

“Work Together Anywhere: A Handbook on Working Remotely Successfully” by Lisette Sutherland and Kirsten Janene-Nelson

Work Together Anywhere

Sutherland is one of the most in-demand virtual team consultants, helping companies worldwide craft functional remote work setups. This book presents advice from the front line about what makes good remote teams and what causes teams to fail.

One of the best aspects of "Work Together Anywhere" is how it breaks down tasks and ideas by role. There are chapters for managers leading remote teams, employees, and even executives. Every stakeholder plays a part in remote work. Sutherland and Janene-Nelson explain what they need to do.

“The Nowhere Office: Reinventing Work and the Workplace of the Future” by Julia Hobsbawm

The Nowhere Office Reinventing Work and the Workplace

Hobsbawm is an experienced communications expert (and a popular podcaster on remote work topics). Her book, “The Nowhere Office,” distills her experiences advising companies about how to embrace hybrid work. Hobsbawm offers a positive vision of employee flexibility that complements corporate goals, provided companies know what they are doing.

Another strong point of “The Nowhere Office” is that it takes on critics of home working. For instance, Hobsbawm accepts that working from home can isolate workers or cause leadership headaches. She has plenty of convincing answers to those problems, along with almost every common argument against hybrid work.

We liked the book so much that we actually spoke to the author in late 2023. Check out the interview before ordering the eBook or paperback, as Hobsbawm delivers some insights that you won’t find in the text.

“Remote Leadership: How to Accelerate Achievement and Create a Community in a Work-from-Home World” by David Pachter

Remote Leadership

When the pandemic hit, marketing agency JumpCrew was still getting started. An intense face-to-face strategy and a close-knit office team had powered rapid growth. However, that had to change as the firm adopted remote working. As the CEO of JumpCrew, Pachter oversaw the transition. And with more than 200 employees at last count, he did pretty well.

"Remote Leadership" tells the story of adaptation under pressure. Pachter explains how a three-part model based on reflective leadership, collaborative learning, and peer coaching helped JumpCrew survive. He also argues persuasively that similar ideas can help remote teams thrive.

“How the Future Works: Leading Flexible Teams to Do The Best Work of Their Lives” by Brian Elliott and Sheela Subramanian

How the Future Works

Approved by the CEO of Slack, "How the Future Works" will inspire anyone who is half-convinced about the virtues of remote working. Elliott and Subramanian explore the benefits of flexibility for workers and companies.

Along the way, they make radical suggestions about the value of letting go - enabling teams to express their creativity without interfering. However, they ground this sense of freedom in hard-headed practical advice about managing remote teams. The result is a fusion of optimism and realism and a great explainer for remote work managers.

“Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere” by Tsedal Neeley

Remote Work Revolution

Written by a professor at Harvard Business School, this Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book Of The Year nominee is a must-read for remote work managers.

Unlike many remote work think pieces, Neeley's work focuses on data security and technical challenges. Expect step-by-step guides to creating functional teams and plenty of case studies to bring the theory to life. The tone is academic (naturally) but not inaccessible at any stage.

“The HBR Guide to Remote Work” by Harvard Business Review staff

The HBR Guide to Remote Work

It may be a little dry in places, but HBR's remote work guide is a must-have nonetheless. The reason is that this guide covers a lot of ground concisely but intelligently. Readers learn about setting up home offices, managing teams, ways to run virtual meetings, and choosing remote work technologies. There's no better nuts and bolts guide to working remotely for bosses and employees alike.

“Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore, a Manifesto” by Bryan Miles

Virtual Culture

Based on years of coaching teams, this short but engaging book urges managers to look beyond routines and old-style performance targets.

For Miles, remote working requires a complete change in company attitude. Effective teams are free and autonomous. And managers need to find ways to engage with colleagues without micro-managing their activities. That's not easy, but "Virtual Culture" offers some handy pointers.

“Deep Work” by Cal Newport

Deep Work

Cal Newport's modern classic dates back to 2016, but it anticipated the world of remote work in uncanny detail. And Newport's expert insights are just as relevant as ever.

"Deep Work" argues that elite workers will dedicate their mind power and attention to critical tasks in the future. Trivial meetings won't steal their time and attention. Instead, they might spend half a day meditating to prepare their minds for a few hours of productive work.

This kind of attitude fits perfectly with remote work. If you have not already done so, be sure to schedule a few hours with Newport soon.

Books for remote employees 

The transition to working from home or any remote location demands a new set of skills and adaptations—from creating an efficient workspace and maintaining ergonomics to mastering virtual communication and ensuring personal well-being. Whether you're a seasoned remote worker or just starting, understanding the nuances of this evolving work culture is crucial for success. 

We’ve chosen a few books that can guide you to make the shift to remote work manageable and truly rewarding. Here is our list:

  • “The Year Without Pants: and the Future of Work”

  • “Remote, Inc.: How to Thrive at Work . . . Wherever You Are”

  • “Working From Home: Making the New Normal Work for You”

  • “Ready, Set, Remote!: The Fast Guide to Creating a Professional Home Office”

  • “Work from Home Ergonomics 101: Tips to Improve Your Comfort, Productivity, and Safety While Working Remotely”

“The Year Without Pants: and the Future of Work” by Scott Berkun

The Year Without Pants

Back in 2012, ex-Microsoft manager Berkun started working at Automattic (the parent company of hosting giant WordPress). And what he found was a revelation. Automattic pioneered flexible working. The firm has never fixed itself to a central office. Its employees famously barely send emails, let alone attend morning staff meetings.

"The Year Without Pants" is a highly entertaining document from the early years of remote work. It's an essential read for employees who are toying with home working. But the book is also full of management nuggets (as well as being flat-out entertaining).

“Remote, Inc.: How to Thrive at Work . . . Wherever You Are” by Robert Pozen and Alexandra Samuel

Remote, Inc.

If you are intimidated by asking for more flexible work, this is the book to read. Pozen and Samuel highlight the many benefits of leaving the office behind and explore some common challenges individuals face when they work alone.

Chapters look at managing your time, communicating with managers, and making the most of online meetings. These skills don't come naturally to everyone. But the techniques and tricks supplied by this book can make the adjustment easier.

“Working From Home: Making the New Normal Work for You” by Karen Mangia

Working From Home

Mangia writes from the standpoint of someone who has tried to work from home but struggled. Most of us can sympathize with her tales about claustrophobic home offices, uncomfortable chairs, and endless distractions. The darker side of remote working can often make life very tricky.

However, Mangia also devises remote work solutions. She discusses striking a healthy work-life balance, staying motivated, and remaining connected with colleagues—everyday tasks that all remote employees face.

“Ready, Set, Remote!: The Fast Guide to Creating a Professional Home Office” by Dave Allen

Ready, Set, Remote

Most remote employees are not interior designers, and not all home spaces transform smoothly into offices. Dave Allen's practical guide will be gold dust for anyone converting a corner of your home into a productivity center. He keeps things down-to-earth and concise, and his cybersecurity reminders are particularly valuable.

“Work from Home Ergonomics 101: Tips to Improve Your Comfort, Productivity, and Safety While Working Remotely” by Morgan Sutherland

Work from Home Ergonomics 101

Back or joint pain can ruin your remote work experience. Poorly designed workspaces can cause a host of physical problems. Morgan Sutherland's book explains how to apply ergonomic principles to a remote work environment. He draws on extensive physio experience to clarify posture, seating, screen alignment, and destressing techniques. Everyone should read it before ditching the office.

Beyond books: Smart thinking for securing remote workers

Remote work brings many challenges. Home workers often face issues with communication, team building, work-life balance, and staying motivated.

Cultural and organizational questions are critically important. However, remote workers also need to contend with technical matters like cybersecurity and ensuring confidentiality. Books can assist, but solving those problems requires specialist help.

Employees need additional training about handling data at home and connecting safely to central networks. Companies should also extend security tools to remote workers, supplying authentication systems, VPN clients, and malware prevention tools.

Securing remote workers internally can succeed. However, using security partners with remote work experience is often preferable.

NordLayer's solutions are a case in point. Companies can create flexible network perimeters. Remote Access VPN and access management tools cover remote devices, ensuring only authorized users can access network resources. Flexible tools allow BYOD for office days, while cloud integrations enable remote workers to access assets they need.

Brush up on your knowledge with 2024's best remote work books. If you need assistance, feel free to get in touch. NordLayer will help you find the perfect remote work solution.

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