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While still in college (go Broncos!), I teamed up with Alex (@slevenbits) to create a startup. We were young, inexperienced and naive. Our first project was called YippieMail and it was an email aggregator. Simply put, YippieMail could display all your webmail accounts (i.e. Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail etc) in the same web interface (this was before most email providers supported IMAP, so you couldn’t use an email client). Looking back at it, YippieMail was a pretty stupid idea, but it did land us meetings with Sequoia Capital and few other VCs on Sand Hill Road. Keep in mind that this was around the time Meebo raised many millions from Sequia and DFJ to do the same thing but for Instant Messaging (IM), so at the time it probably did not seem as such of a bad idea.

还在上大学的时候(加油野马队!) 年,我与亚历克斯(@slevenbits)合作创建了一个初创公司。 我们年轻,没有经验,天真。 我们的第一个项目叫做 YippieMail,它是一个电子邮件聚合器。 简单地说,YippieMail 可以在同一个 web 界面上显示你所有的网络邮件帐户(比如 Hotmail、 Yahoo 和 Gmail 等)(这是在大多数电子邮件提供商支持 IMAP 之前,所以你不能使用电子邮件客户端)。 回过头来看,YippieMail 是一个相当愚蠢的想法,但它确实让我们与红杉资本和其他几家风投公司在沙山路会面。 记住,那时 Meebo 从 Sequia 和 DFJ 那里筹集了数百万美元来做同样的事情,但是是在即时通讯的时候,所以在当时看来这似乎不是一个坏主意。

It was in the early days of YippieMail, which was pivoted into YippieMove (RIP 2008-2019) my now decade-long remote experience began (some of which as a digital nomad).

那是 YippieMail 的早期,它转变成了 YippieMove (安息吧,2008-2019) ,我现在长达十年的远程体验开始了(其中一些是作为一个数字游牧民族)。

When we began working on YippieMail, Alex was living in San Jose, and I was living in Mountain View. For those of you not familiar with the Bay Area, these two cities are not very far apart, but when you factor in the horrendous traffic conditions, it can easily take well over an hour to drive between the two (while it might only take 20-30 minutes without traffic). It was then we decided to work remotely rather than getting an office somewhere in between. Ever since, in all our subsequent ventures (Blotter, and then Screenly) have been remote-only.

当我们开始处理 YippieMail 时,亚历克斯住在圣何塞,而我住在山景城。 对于那些不熟悉旧金山湾区的人来说,这两个城市相距不是很远,但是如果考虑到可怕的交通状况,在两个城市之间开车可能需要一个多小时(如果没有交通堵塞,可能只需要20-30分钟)。 就在那时,我们决定远程办公,而不是在两者之间找一间办公室。 从那以后,我们所有的后续冒险(Blotter,然后 Screenly)都只是遥远的。

To this day, even though both Alex and I both live in London, we only get together every other month or so in person to catch up. Moreover, in my new venture (WoTT), we have adopted this remote philosophy even if both founders are located in London.

直到今天,尽管我和亚历克斯都住在伦敦,我们每隔一个月左右才会见面叙叙旧。 此外,在我的新公司(WoTT)中,即使两位创始人都在伦敦,我们也采用了这种遥远的理念。

So what have I learned over this decade of working and running remote teams? Let’s dive in.

那么,在过去的十年中,我从远程团队的工作和运行中学到了什么呢? 让我们开始吧。

Remote is not for everyone


The first thing that I would like to point out is that remote working is not for everyone. Over the years, we have had a few team members that could not work remotely. In some cases these people discovered this themselves and chose to leave, and in some other cases it became clear that it was not a match.

首先我要指出的是,远程工作并不适合每个人。 多年来,我们有一些无法远程工作的团队成员。 在某些情况下,这些人自己发现了这一点并选择离开,而在另一些情况下,很明显这并不匹配。

Usually, people who fail at remote work tend to either lack the self-discipline it requires, or they are simply socially oriented and thrive being around other people. In the latter case, working from a shared office can help, but even then, if you lack the self-discipline and habits required, you are likely not going to thrive. While there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, young people (early 20s) tend to struggle more with this than people who have reach their late 20s and early 30s.

通常,那些在远程工作中失败的人要么缺乏所需的自律,要么他们只是社交导向,在别人身边活得很好。 在后一种情况下,在共用的办公室工作会有所帮助,但即便如此,如果你缺乏必要的自律和习惯,你可能也不会茁壮成长。 虽然这个规律有很多例外,但是年轻人(20岁出头)往往比30岁出头的人挣扎得更厉害。

The bottom line is that some people excel while working remotely, while others work better in a regular office environment. It’s hard to screen for this in an interview, but it usually becomes evident during the first year. It is important to look out for this in team members as a manager.

底线是,有些人在远程工作时表现出色,而其他人在常规的办公环境中工作得更好。 这在面试中很难筛选出来,但是通常在第一年就会变得很明显。 作为管理者,在团队成员中注意这一点是很重要的。

Either you’re remote or you’re not


Either you’re remote-only or you don’t do remote at all. Lots of companies brag about giving their staff the freedom to work remotely. However, the reality is that unless it is in your company’s DNA to be a remote company, it will inevitably favor the team members that are working in the office (in particular if this is where the leadership is). The reason for this is largely related to the flow of information. People chat over the water cooler, over coffee or over drinks after work. This leads to unevenly distributed information, which easily can make people feel left out or that other team members simply assume everyone else knows about something despite it never made it to the official channels. In a remote-only culture however, the information flow tends to happen in a more organized fashion either over email or in the company chat rooms (or even in Github Issues).

要么你只能远程操作,要么你根本不能远程操作。 许多公司吹嘘他们给予员工远程工作的自由。 然而,事实是,除非你的公司天生就是一个远程公司,否则它不可避免地会偏向在办公室工作的团队成员(特别是如果这里是领导层的话)。 其原因很大程度上与信息流动有关。 人们在饮水机旁聊天,喝咖啡或者下班后喝饮料。 这会导致信息分布不均,很容易让人觉得被忽视,或者其他团队成员只是假设其他人知道某些事情,尽管这些事情从未进入正式渠道。 然而,在纯远程文化中,信息流通常通过电子邮件或公司聊天室(甚至是 Github Issues)以更有组织的方式发生。

Company and team summits


Company summits matter a lot. Even if you’re a remote team, having everyone get together in person every year (or twice a year) can make a huge difference. While video chats is a higher context medium than email or chat, it still isn’t a full substitute for meeting face-to-face. When we did our very first summit for Screenly at the lovely Villa Lava in Croatia (a great place for company summits), it was the first time our team members got to meet each other in person, despite having worked together for years. In retrospect, it was a big mistake to not be doing summits earlier, as we could see a big difference in how the communication changed online after the summit. Because text based chat is a low context medium, it’s very easy to misread the intent of a message. However, if you have met this person in real life, you have a lot more to work with and can use that context to read the same message in a new light. These days, the developers at Screenly get together in person every quarter (roughly) for a one week summit, and the entire company gets together annually. (You can read more about how we work at Screenly in the article How we work at Screenly that I wrote a few years ago.)

公司的峰会很重要。 即使你是一个远程团队,让每个人每年(或每年两次)亲自聚在一起也可以产生巨大的不同。 虽然视频聊天是比电子邮件或聊天更高层次的上下文媒介,但它仍然不能完全替代面对面的会议。 当我们在克罗地亚可爱的熔岩别墅(公司峰会的绝佳场所)为 Screenly 举办第一次峰会时,这是我们的团队成员第一次见面,尽管我们已经一起工作了多年。 现在回想起来,没有提前举行峰会是一个巨大的错误,因为我们可以看到峰会后网络交流方式的巨大变化。 因为基于文本的聊天是一种低上下文的媒介,所以很容易误读信息的意图。 然而,如果你在现实生活中遇到了这个人,你就会有更多的工作要做,并且可以利用这种背景从一个新的角度来阅读相同的信息。 如今,Screenly 的开发商们每个季度(大约)都会聚在一起,召开为期一周的峰会,整个公司每年都会聚在一起。 (你可以在我几年前写的一篇文章《我们如何在 Screenly 工作》中了解更多关于我们如何在 Screenly 工作的信息。)

Tap in to a large talent pool


Hiring remote means a larger talent pool. I’m hardly the first to point this out, but one of the major reasons why it makes sense to be remote-only. You are no longer limited to hiring in your geographic area. The tools for recruiting have changed a lot over the last decade since I started working remotely. That said, recruiting is far from easy. Because people from around the world are able to apply to your openings, the second you post a job ad, the floodgate opens. The reality is that 99.9% of the applicants for remote jobs are people who utilize the “spray and pray” approach. Filtering them out is fairly easy, but in best case scenario, you’ll have a handful of decent candidates for every 100 or so applicants.

远程招聘意味着更大的人才库。 我不是第一个指出这一点的人,但是这是为什么远程化是有意义的主要原因之一。 你不再局限于在你的地理区域内招聘。 自从我开始远程工作以来,在过去的十年里,招聘工具发生了很大的变化。 尽管如此,招聘远非易事。 因为来自世界各地的人都可以申请你的职位空缺,你一发布招聘广告,闸门就会打开。 事实上,99.9% 的远程工作申请者是那些使用“喷雾和祈祷”方法的人。 过滤掉它们是相当容易的,但是在最好的情况下,每100个左右的申请者中就会有一小撮不错的候选人。

The filtering process that tends to work well is to have rigorous screening questions that actually requires a little bit of work and is unique. This will help you weed out all the candidates who simply put “Call me to discuss” in all the boxes (or worse).

过滤过程往往工作良好,是有严格的筛选问题,实际上需要一点工作,是独特的。 这将帮助你剔除那些在所有选项框中只是简单地写上“打电话给我讨论”(或者更糟)的候选人。

Yes, this screening process will take a fair bit of time, but tools like Upwork make it fairly quick to reject candidates that fail to put in the effort (or are clearly poor fits).

是的,这个筛选过程需要花费相当长的时间,但像 Upwork 这样的工具可以相当快地拒绝那些没有付出努力(或者显然不适合)的候选人。

From experience I am also very reluctant to work with agencies and prefer hiring team members directly. The reason being that a number of agencies we’ve run across over the years have a small amount of talented engineers that will do the screening process and perhaps the first few weeks, and then they gradually shift the work over to a more junior person, while charging the same rate.

根据我的经验,我也非常不愿意与机构合作,而更喜欢直接雇用团队成员。 原因是我们这些年来经营的许多机构都有少量有才华的工程师来做筛选过程,也许在最初的几周,然后他们逐渐把工作移交给一个级别更低的人,同时收取相同的费用。

It’s also worth mentioning that with the raise of the digital nomad movement, there are a lot more job boards that are “remote friendly,” including Angelist and a plethora of (IMHO overpriced) remote-focused job boards.


A final word of warning for people hiring remote team members: don’t hire people who want to join your company just because you offer them to work remotely and subsequently have more flexibility. While not always true, it is sometimes an indicator of people who want to coast along with minimal supervision (while perhaps getting their own business off the ground). What you really want is people who believe in the vision and product, and where remote is a perk, not a the reason why they want to join.

对于那些雇佣远程团队成员的人,最后一句警告: 不要雇佣那些仅仅因为你提供他们远程工作并且随后有更多灵活性而想要加入你公司的人。 虽然并不总是正确的,但有时候这是一个指标,表明人们希望在最低限度的监督下顺利发展(同时也许可以让他们自己的生意起步)。 你真正想要的是那些相信愿景和产品的人,远程是一种福利,而不是他们想加入的原因。

(I have intentionally not mentioned the legal structure of how to hire remote talent. IANAL so you probably should check with one to ensure you comply with the local laws.)

(我故意没有提及如何聘用远程人才的法律架构。 所以你可能应该检查一下以确保你遵守当地的法律。)

Finding good remote workers is probably easier for some roles than others


Remote work is likely easier for engineering than for other roles. In all my experiences, we have always been engineering heavy organizations. Yes, we’ve had a number of other roles too, but in terms of head count, the engineers always outnumbered all other roles. What I have noticed however is that it tends to be easier (in general) to manage engineers remotely compared to other roles (such as sales). This is likely related to a number of variables, but in general, I’ve found engineers to be more self-motivated and requiring less handholding. There is of course a large correlation with seniority too. Regardless of position, more senior people tend to require less handholding and thus work better remotely.

对于工程师来说,远程工作可能比其他角色更容易。 在我所有的经验中,我们总是设计重型组织。 是的,我们也有一些其他的角色,但在人数方面,工程师总是超过所有其他角色。 但我注意到,与其他角色(如销售)相比,(通常)远程管理工程师往往更容易。 这可能与许多变量有关,但总的来说,我发现工程师更有自我激励意识,需要的帮助也更少。 当然,这也与资历有很大的相关性。 无论职位高低,资历较高的人往往需要较少的握手,因此远程办公效果更好。

Remote work saves a lot of time. First, it should be said that remote work does not necessarily equal working from home. We’ve had plenty of team members over the years that preferred to work from a shared office (including myself for a period). To each and their own. If however you work from home, you can save a big chunk of time (and money) every day. When I had an office in Shoreditch, it took me 30-40 minutes each way. That adds up top a lot of time every week. These days I have a dedicated room as my home office (something I strongly recommend if working from home). This means that my morning commute is roughly 60 seconds, and that includes a detour to the kitchen to fetch myself a cup of joe. What you do with this time is up to you, but I usually dedicate this 1-1.5h every day to exercise.

远程工作可以节省很多时间。 首先,应该说远程工作不一定等同于在家工作。 多年来,我们有很多团队成员更喜欢在共享办公室工作(包括我自己)。 对每个人和他们自己。 如果你在家工作,你每天可以节省很多时间(和金钱)。 当我在 Shoreditch 有一间办公室时,单程需要30-40分钟。 这些加起来每周占用了很多时间。 这些天我有一个专门的房间作为我的家庭办公室(我强烈建议如果在家工作)。 这意味着我每天早上的上班路程大约是60秒,其中包括绕道去厨房给自己买杯咖啡。 这段时间做什么取决于你自己,但我通常每天花1-1.5小时锻炼身体。

The power of routines and habits


Habits will make or break you as a remote worker. As mentioned earlier, remote work is not for everyone. It requires a lot more self-discipline than a regular office job where you’re constantly “supervised.” Over the years, I’ve experimented with a large number of habits, and at this point I’ve devised a set of habits that work pretty well for me (but they are likely to change as I keep experimenting). The most important habit when working remotely from home is to mentally trigger a beginning and an end of the work day. It’s easy to sit in your PJs or sweats all day just because you can, but it will likely backfire in the long-run.

作为一个远程工作者,习惯将决定你的成败。 正如前面提到的,远程工作并不适合每个人。 它需要更多的自我约束,而不是一个普通的办公室工作,你不断“监督” 多年来,我已经尝试了大量的习惯,在这一点上,我已经设计了一套对我来说非常有效的习惯(但是它们很可能会随着我的不断尝试而改变)。 当远程在家工作时,最重要的习惯就是在精神上触发一天工作的开始和结束。 你很容易因为可以而整天穿着睡衣或汗衫坐着,但从长远来看,这很可能适得其反。

To make this more concrete, here’s my current daily schedule:


  • 07:00: Wake up 07:00: 清醒
  • 07:05: Reading ( 07:05: 阅读Sharpen the saw 磨快锯子 from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
  • 08:00: Check in with the team 08:00: 与团队联系
  • 08:10: Exercise + shower 08:10: 运动 + 淋浴
  • 09:30: Start of my work day 09:30: 开始我的工作日
  • 19:30: End of my work day 19:30: 结束一天的工作
  • 23:00: Bedtime 23:00: 就寝时间

Clarification: This does not necessarily mean I work 10 hours per day every day (sometimes I do). I do take a lunch as well. Also, I am perfectly happy to wrap my day at 17:30 after a productive and sucessful day. The 19:30 hard stop, not as hard requirement for me to work to it every day.

澄清: 这并不一定意味着我每天工作10个小时(有时候是这样)。 我也会吃午饭。 而且,在经历了富有成效的一天后,我很高兴能在17:30结束一天的工作。 19:30的艰难停车,对我来说不是每天工作的艰难要求。

As my good friend Milos (@milosgajdos) pointed out while reading a draft of this post, an early start isn’t for everyone. Shifting your day is perfectly fine too. The point is not when you start your day and when you wrap it, but building and sticking to habits that make you productive.

正如我的好朋友 Milos (@milosgajdos)在阅读这篇文章的草稿时指出的那样,并不是每个人都适合早起。 改变你的一天也是很好的。 重点不在于你什么时候开始新的一天,什么时候结束新的一天,而在于建立并坚持那些能让你更有效率的习惯。

If you want to learn more about the importance of habits, I strongly recommend reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Also, a word of warning, don’t get obsessed with reading all about productivity. I’ve been a victim of productivity-porn myself, but I can tell you first-hand that you’ll waste far more time reading about it than you’ll ever save.

如果你想更多地了解习惯的重要性,我强烈推荐阅读 Charles Duhigg 的《习惯的力量》。 另外,一个警告,不要沉迷于阅读所有关于生产力的书籍。 我自己也曾经是生产力色情的受害者,但是我可以直接告诉你,你将会浪费更多的时间去阅读它,而不是你所能节省的时间。

Sleep matters (shocking, I know…)


Perhaps not related to remote work itself, but more the startup culture. VC used beat it in to young and naive early 20-something kids that it was cool (and even expected) to frequently pull all-nighters and sleep under their desk. I feel like the tide has finally turned on this. Yes, you still have the Gary Vaynerchuk-wannabees out there with their hustle-porn, but I think (and hope) they are a dying breed.

也许与远程工作本身无关,更多的是与创业文化有关。 Vc 曾经告诉20多岁的年轻人,经常通宵达旦地在桌子底下睡觉是件很酷的事(甚至是可以预料到的)。 我觉得形势终于逆转了。 是的,你仍然可以看到加里 · 维纳查克(Gary vaynerchuk)这样的“哈娑色情”崇拜者,但我认为(也希望)他们是一个濒临灭绝的种族。

What is however related to remote work is the the importance of wrapping up your day. As you may have noticed above, I end my day at 19:30. After that I’m not allowed into my office (unless there’s an emergency). I also try to keep my screen time to minimal in the evenings. In my younger years, I frequently worked late into the night. Yet, even if I clocked more hours, I got less done.

然而,与远程工作相关的是结束一天工作的重要性。 你可能已经注意到了,我在19:30结束一天的工作。 在那之后,我就不被允许进入我的办公室(除非有紧急情况)。 我还尽量把晚上看电视的时间减少到最少。 在我年轻的时候,我经常工作到深夜。 然而,即使我工作更多的时间,我完成的事情也更少。

Switching off very is important, and it is a lot more challenging when you’re working remotely.


If you want to learn more on this, I recommend the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.

如果你想了解更多这方面的知识,我推荐马修 · 沃克的《为什么我们睡觉》一书。

Distractions kill productivity


Kill the distractions. Working from home is challenging for a lot of people. It’s easy to get distracted by various things around the house, but for me the biggest distraction has always been the digital kind. Cal Newport nails this in his latest book Digital Minimalism, where he talks about how distracting mobile phones and social media can be. I’ve found this first hand. For a long time, I kept my phone next to me on the desk. However, every time the phone buzzed, I lost my focus. Even if I did not check the phone, it still got me distracted. The remedy for me was to simply move all my distractions to the living room (i.e. my phone and Apple Watch) and just check them periodically throughout the day. Alternatively, Airplane mode on your devices is another great way to kill noise.

消除干扰。 在家工作对很多人来说都是一种挑战。 人们很容易被家里的各种事情分心,但对我来说,最大的分心事物一直是数码产品。 卡尔 · 纽波特在他的最新著作《数字极简主义》中指出了这一点,他在书中谈到手机和社交媒体是如何分散注意力的。 我找到了第一手资料。 有很长一段时间,我把手机放在桌子上。 然而,每次电话嗡嗡作响,我就会失去注意力。 即使我没有检查手机,它仍然让我分心。 对我来说,解决办法就是把所有让我分心的东西都移到起居室(比如我的手机和苹果手表) ,每天都定期检查一下。 或者,设备上的飞行模式是另一种消除噪音的好方法。

For the hackers out there, I’ve found that running something like i3 is also great for cutting out noise on your desktop. I use this on my “developer workstation” (which is different from my other workstation).

对于外面的黑客来说,我发现运行 i3之类的东西对于在你的桌面上消除噪音也是很好的。 我在我的“开发人员工作站”上使用它(这与我的其他工作站不同)。

Don’t skimp on equipment


While having good equipment is always important, you tend to have more control over your equipment when working remotely than when you work in an office where everything is provided to you on your first day. You are going to spend a lot of time in front of your workstation. Your body will thank you for spending a bit more money and get:

虽然拥有好的设备总是很重要,但是当你远程工作时,你往往比在办公室工作时更能控制你的设备,因为在办公室里,所有东西都是第一天提供给你的。 您将在工作站前花费大量时间。 你的身体会因为你花了更多的钱而感谢你:

  • A large 4K screen (they have crawled down a lot in price recently) on a monitor arm 在显示器臂上安装一个大的4K 屏幕(最近它们的价格下跌了很多)
  • A standing desk (I use 站立式办公桌(我使用this 这个 one from Ikea) 宜家(Ikea)的产品)
  • A good ergonomic keyboard 一个好的人体工程学键盘

That’s a wrap!


That’s it. At least for now. I’m sure there are things that I have missed, but it should hopefully be useful for other (new and old) remote workers out there.

就是这样。 至少现在是这样。 我肯定我遗漏了一些东西,但希望它对其他(新老)远程工作者有用。

If you are eager to learn more, I would recommend the following additional books:


  • Deep Work 深度工作 by Cal Newport 作者: Cal Newport
  • ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) 作者: Jason Fried 和达维德·海涅迈尔·汉松

Also, take a look at How We Work at Screenly, a blog post I wrote a few years ago, but it still has relevant information.

另外,看看我几年前写的一篇博文《我们如何在 Screenly 工作》 ,它仍然有相关的信息。

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