This is the first in an N part series of short, succinct articles about Remote Work that I'll be writing. I'm taking a new remote gig and I'm finding that codifying my thoughts on remote work is useful both for me and for people that I will likely end up managing.

All Remote Articles

What I have found is that successful remote work cultures are ones of documentation or as I would say "Write It Down". In a classical work environment, you can always pop your head over the cubicle and ask the person next door. In a remote work environment, not only is that not an option but you are often working asynchronously from your co-workers so they may not even be awake when you need something.

I don't personally care whether the writing mechanism is a blog, a wiki, a shared Google doc, or a paid Slack environment where messages are never deleted – it simply needs to be:

  • Always Available
  • Persistent
  • Searchable
  • Linkable
  • Easy to Write In

I'll write more about specific writing tools and how they function in a remote work environment over the next N articles.

If you don't build a culture of documentation for your remote work environment, what you are going to find are subtle impedances to successful work. People will constantly be scrambling for key information and there will be resulting task slippage.

My Remote Work Background

In 1996 I started my first experience with remote work when I ran an engineering team with these characteristics:

  • 25 people
  • 5 locations (Massachusetts, Albany, Ohio, Colorado and Leiscester, UK)
  • 3 time zones
  • A lead engineer who was remote
  • 2 core engineering team members who came into the office so infrequently that they were officially characterized as Remote

And ever since then, I have either been remote myself or managed remote workers or both. When I was lead developer of AppData, we took that to over $3.1 million in aggregate revenue with a fully remote development team.