This Guide covers knowledge work at startups and high-growth companies where everyone does not work from the same physical office location. While this applies to companies with offices in multiple geographic locations (aka “satellite offices”), we intend the Guide more for companies (and their employees) that intentionally have at least some percentage of their workforce working entirely remotely, rather than coming into a physical office location.
Remote work (or distributed work) is an organizational approach where employees of a company do not conduct their daily work from the same physical location on an ongoing basis. In-person communication and coordination are typically replaced by a combination of telephone calls, email, internet video calls, online chat, and written documentation. In the past, remote work was referred to as “telecommuting,” but this term has fallen out of favor with the advent of ubiquitous internet access that supports online forms of communication.
We do not cover large, multinational companies looking to dramatically cut costs via offshoring or other related methodologies; nor do we cover remote work for digital nomads or freelancers/contractors as a broad category (though we will discuss how contractors play a role in international remote teams, and the legal and other complexities associated with such approaches). For the time being, we are also not addressing remote work at non-profits or government agencies, though many of the ideas and practices in the guide will be relevant to both. We also don’t cover how to find remote jobs for prospective employees.