The Holloway Remote Work Guide

Posted by Alan Barr on Sun 23 August 2020

Summary of the Holloway Remote Work Guide

You might be like me and thrust into remote work without any training or idea how to do it. If you’re in a similar situation as I am you will gain a lot of value and insight from the Holloway Guide to Remote Work. The book provides insights and information on making the most of working remotely.

In late March 2020, the technology department started working from home, including me. Five months later it is a smashing success. It is not without its struggles and not everyone is faring as well. Early on we passed around articles and I wondered if there was something better out there. until I stumbled upon The Holloway Guide to Remote Work is the best resource I have read on this topic.

Communication is the bedrock of remote work

Looking back at work in an office it is a wonder how we communicated well at all? Clear communication and expectations are the foundation of success in this new environment. The book focuses on intentionality, transparency, and clarity as to the path of that success.

How to Communicate

Communication is hard! Start with designing a system for how your team and organization will communicate. Communication tools excel in some areas more than others. Use real-time video meetings and a digital whiteboard for discussing abstract ideas. Use email for precise communication. Use chatting, email, forums, documents, and wikis so that your team isn't stuck in constant meetings providing updates. Phone calls, video calls, are still great for discussions on complex or abstract ideas.

Let task trackers and digital whiteboards do the work of keeping teams up to date on the minutiae. Write down only what matters in a wiki because there is a cost in managing that content. Write down what matters in the documentation and use the OAC principle to maintain that documentation.

Remote Management is about clarifying and making explicit expectations

The section on remote management is eye-catching and an excellent resource of modern management advice. Some types of employees can excel in a remote working environment. A manager must maintain crystal clear expectations between the manager and the employee. A remote manager’s job is to set goals for the employee, coach, and provide corrective feedback. Grow the relationship between manager and employee sharing information about each other. One-on-one meetings are still essential. If you are a manager, this book is worth it for the management tips alone.

Leading yourself is the first step to remote work success

It is ever more important to focus on your self-care in a remote working environment. Set boundaries by maintaining a clear work schedule and a separate working environment. Make sure your family members are aware of your schedule. If your hours vary be transparent with your team and stay accountable for your work and deadlines. If you need help reach out to your manager and help others that might be struggling with this new change. It could be easy to go a full 8 hours sitting through synchronous video meetings but reassess if that schedule is necessary. Establishing good remote meeting practices and hygiene can go a long way towards lessening meetings and making the most out of them.

Living the remote life

While it feels like remote work is not as fun and engaging as the office I feel like it is close enough. I join my teams throughout the day in various persistent meeting rooms. We continue to laugh and joke about the work and day to day events. Remote work does not have to be isolating or lonely. Meeting with your coworkers outdoors and celebrating wins from time to time is vital to surviving this new transition.