Remote Inc by Robert C Pozen Book Summary

Remote, Inc. How to Thrive at Work…Wherever You Are by Robert C. Pozen and Alexandra Samuel


Remote work can present new challenges in managing your time, optimizing technology, conducting meetings, communicating and being productive. In this easy-to-read, efficiently organized guide, former president of Fidelity Investments Robert Pozen and digital workplace expert Alexandra Samuel suggest ways to reorganize your office work habits into remote working skills to increase your professional capacity. Pozen and Samuel reorient your priorities around autonomy. They teach you to manage your schedule around your needs, and to achieve more from online meetings, social media, research, writing and presentations. Learn to operate as a “Business of One” to reach your professional goals and achieve work-life balance.


  • Shift your mind-set to become a “Business of One.”
  • To work remotely, set clear priorities, focus on the final product and combat bad habits.
  • Organize your time, technology and office space.
  • Master remote meetings, informational reading and written communication.
  • Professionalize your use of email, social media and online presentations.
  • To lead a remote team, establish ground rules and negotiate success metrics.
  • Apply remote working skills to a hybrid workplace to gain the benefits of the Business of One.

Remote Inc Book Summary

Shift your mind-set to become a “Business of One.”

The mind-set of being a Business of One changes how you measure your productivity. You move from accounting for the number of hours you work to tracking the number of objectives you complete.

“Whether you’re early in your career with a large organization, managing a small team or a self-employed freelancer, you should try to adopt the mind-set and habits of a small business owner.”

Nine-to-five office hours are an antiquated tool for ensuring accountability, productivity and measurable output. Invest in the quality of your work, as you create a better work-life balance through the autonomy you gain from working at home.

In a recent survey of more than 1,000 remote workers, people with autonomy were more productive, faster at relearning to work from home, and happier about crafting a work-life balance that fits their needs. Your degree of autonomy depends on your role, and your value within your firm or on the freelance market. To create more flexibility, shift your work from collaborative to solitary as much as possible. Reduce the number of tasks requiring meetings and team input.

As your work becomes more solitary, build trust as a boss or employee by:

  1. Setting clear expectations – Lay out your success metrics: the best times to reach you, your most productive hours of the day and a reasonable deadline.
  2. Improving communication – Don’t let problems go unspoken. Err on the side of overcommunication.
  3. Documenting your performance – Performance reviews and evidence of your work ethic matter for potential promotion or job interviews.

To work remotely, address goal setting, research and combat bad habits.

As a team manager or team member, follow three strategies for productive, efficient remote work. 

The first strategy is to focus on what matters by prioritizing your goals in three steps:

  1. List your goals in three categories: what your boss expects, what you want out of your career and what you want out of your personal life.
  2. Assign a priority – high, medium, low – to each objective on these lists.
  3. Make a list of tasks and projects you must complete, and connect them to their matching goal. If a task doesn’t match, drop it or reprioritize an objective.

The second strategy is to achieve your final product in less time with greater confidence in three phases:

  1. Narrow your research. Avoid wasting hours by guiding your inquiries with a refutable hypothesis.
  2. Review and reconstruct the hypothesis as you go with midflight reviews. New information may alter your initial conclusion. Midflight reviews serve as reality checks, especially for remote workers with fewer opportunities to collaborate.
  3. Test tentative conclusions on consumers to gain feedback and catch any oversights.

The third strategy is to combat bad habits such as procrastination and perfectionism, while implementing useful tools to recover wasted time and increase your professional capacity.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff!”

Moderate procrastinators should use the work-then-reward system. For example, do two hours of reading followed by a treat, such as watching a favorite TV show. Chronic procrastinators must organize themselves more carefully, or perhaps consider therapy to understand why they procrastinate.

Perfectionists can learn to re-navigate their attention to crucial tasks. Accept doing midlevel work on less-important jobs while saving your energy for objectives that further your priorities.

Multitasking is an efficient tool for doing your less-than-perfect work. Multitask on low-priority jobs that don’t conflict with each other. Avoid multitasking on important tasks that require your full attention.

Another useful tool is the “only handle it once” (OHIO) rule. OHIO calls for responding immediately to any message or request from people who support your goals.

Organize your time, technology and office space.

Increase your capacity through organization. Unlike a nine-to-five office schedule, remote work requires you to restructure your day to balance work and your personal life. For example, you must find time to walk your dog and do your dishes while reading your email and preparing for meetings.

Use a time management system of weekly and daily reviews to structure your time and find areas of improvement.

  • Weekly reviews – Lay out the important goals you must accomplish. Illuminate areas of mismanaged time.
  • Daily reviews – Stay on the path toward completing your goals while adjusting for new priorities.

If a meeting doesn’t further a goal or priority, skip it and fill that hour with self-care. Schedule time for exercise, socialization, breaks and healthy meals.

Technology is essential for organizing time and tasks. Develop an optimal tech collection with three components:

  1. Gear – Invest in a computer that runs fast, with solid storage and backup systems. Have a mobile hotspot on your phone for backup internet access.
  2. Apps – Combine calendar, task-list and time-tracking apps with daily or weekly reviews.
  3. Software – Embrace Zoom, Microsoft Teams and whichever software your team prefers.

After organizing your time and technology, focus on your home office space. Arrange your home office for optimal productivity. That can mean soundproofing and eliminating distractions, like moving the television to a different room. Use lighting, colorful artwork, plants or family photos to lift your spirits.

If you work in multiple places throughout the week, schedule tasks that align best with each space according to the level of concentration each job requires – or the amount of tolerable distraction.

Master remote meetings, informational reading and written communication.

Intrapersonal social skills do not translate well through a computer screen. Body language, facial cues and the ability to read the room become daily challenges when you’re sitting alone talking to a screen.

“Even a professional with great meeting skills may find that online meetings end up as a net detractor from their effectiveness as a Business of One.”

As a meeting participant, you should read the prepared materials in advance and make sure the meeting aligns with your priorities. Avoid unnecessary meetings. Listen and contribute constructively during meetings while making sure you understand new tasks.

To become better informed and more knowledgeable in meetings and at work by developing an ongoing learning strategy to enhance your reading skills. Take four steps to master efficiency in your online and offline reading:

  1. Grasp the structure – Read the introduction and conclusion of the text first to understand its organization.
  2. Dig into the text  Start with a paragraph at a time, skipping the superfluous sections while jotting down important points.
  3. Resist online distractions – Eliminate pop-up ads or videos so only text is visible. 
  4. Take notes and save important articles  Take notes on crucial details or major ideas that relate to your top goals. Use tools like Pocket or Instapaper to create a clippings file for future reference.

Compile the data from your reading, and prepare to communicate it by writing the high points. Plan your writing by identifying the objective you seek to convey while factoring in who will read your piece. For example, how you address your boss differs from how you address your co-workers.

Use an outline to categorize ideas and information. This connects your ideas through themes or topics, and directs the flow of your final document. Write a first draft. Rewrite this draft at least three times: once for content and structure, twice for revising and consolidating, and three times for typos, grammar flaws or other errors.

Remote work may bring the opportunity to write collaboratively. Be clear about who will contribute what. Stick to your outline, and be specific about the feedback you expect. Use tools such as Scrivener or Zotero to keep everyone on track.

Professionalize your use of email, social media and online presentations.

Apply your mastery of meetings, reading and writing to create effective online communication. Look at your email and message systems, and focus on streamlining communication by assessing the amount of time you spend sifting through material. Scale that down to a scheduled window of time.

Create an email routine with alternate in-boxes labeled family, urgent, team or boss to organize incoming messages by relevance. This reserves your primary inbox for your most important emails. For urgent responses, use group messaging or texting. Rely on these tools for visible and searchable communication as well as for maintaining quick contact with your team. Use clear and professional language featuring direct action messages, concise text and useful context in your emails, group messages or texts.

Effective online communication today involves social media, which can turn into a bottomless rabbit hole if you don’t set proper parameters:

  1. Be selective – Focus on which relationships you want to develop and connect with on the platform.
  2. Make lists – Organize your network algorithms around those pivotal relationships by identifying keywords or hashtags.
  3. Follow a niche – Find a position in the market that incorporates your values and tone of voice. This creates an echo of followers who match your network needs.
  4. Choose a platform – Find the one that works best for you and feels intuitive to use.
  5. Post every week or two – Each time you post, make sure you are helping your network and generating business while gaining an audience for your professional presentations. Plan your presentations around a specific audience. Have clear goals stating what you want them to learn, think and feel. 

“The most challenging part of a virtual presentation…is the lack of audience feedback.”

Start with an emotional connection. Ask how people are feeling, and bond through mutual experiences. Simplify by structuring your talk around three points, and use visual aids such as slides to anchor audience attention. Dedicate specific tasks at the end, when your energy has motivated and engaged everyone.

Pause for questions, take polls, and use social media or website links for quick reference to maintain a thoughtful connection to your audience and solicit helpful feedback.

To lead a remote team, establish ground rules and negotiate success metrics.

If you’re the boss, you must guide others on how to get the most from their autonomy. Have them write clear objectives with agreed-on success metrics.

As the primary go-between for your team members, keep track of the progress of their projects by using midflight reviews. Redefine strategies to avoid bottlenecks and micromanaging. Use four helpful tools to keep your team on track:

  1. Establish ground rules for core working hours, online meetings and communication channels.
  2. Set up weekly team meetings for building connections and bonding.
  3. Hold one-on-one meetings to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
  4. Provide performance reviews to gauge how well your team members meet their long-term goals.

Mastering the art of leading online meetings begins with preparation that ensures meetings that are concise and organized. Create a document that includes the agenda and goal of the meeting, as well as any materials participants may need. Send it out before the session. Keep meetings infrequent, and include only the most necessary people. During the meeting, keep everyone on track and engaged. Take advantage of the online format through text chat, muting, polls and breakout rooms.

Reserve the last five minutes of each meeting for “wrap-up mode,” during which people come together to reflect on their next steps.

Apply remote working skills to a hybrid workplace and to gain the benefits of the Business of One.

Companies are shifting to a hybrid structure of mixed remote and office scheduling.

“We refer to this mix of home and remote work as the Goldilocks plan, in which each employee spends not too much or too little time at home.”

Consider what aspects of work are best suited to the collaborative, social office versus your focused, quiet home.

The Business of One mind-set enables you to become more productive, balanced and efficient. You and your boss will experience more freedom with less micromanaging, increased flexibility and greater appreciation for your capabilities.

About the Authors

Robert Pozen

Former president of Fidelity Investments Robert Pozen teaches at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Alexandra Samuel, PhD, is a digital workplace expert.

Alexandra Samuel

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