cover of book "remote: office not required

Beating remote working lockdown lethargy

I’ve read three interesting things about remote working during lockdown which i think others would find interesting. So here they are in order of length:

#1 ‘Zoom fatigue’ is taxing the brain. Here’s why that happens.

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Written by journalist Julia Sklar, this five minute read looks specifically at how video calls seem an elegant solution to remote work, but are wearing on the psyche in complicated ways.

Three taster quotes:

It’s almost like you’re emoting more because you’re just a little box on a screen,” Eichler-Levine says. “I’m just so tired.

people may be surprised at how difficult they’re finding video calls given that the medium seems neatly confined to a small screen and presents few obvious distractions.

For some people, the prolonged split in attention creates a perplexing sense of being drained while having accomplished nothing. The brain becomes overwhelmed by unfamiliar excess stimuli while being hyper-focused on searching for non-verbal cues that it can’t find.

#2 Remote work at scale

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Written in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, this blog post from Beau Lebens (Head of Product Engineering at Automattic ) is a 15 minute read and is aimed at helping those who have had remote working forced upon them.

If you read one of these three pieces, pick this one.

Here are three taster quotes:

If this is your first experience at remote work, it’s unfortunately probably going to be pretty rough. Don’t let it taint your view though – to do it well requires cultural and process change in your org plus a lot of adaptation.

I actually miss my previous commute of about 20 minutes once in a while, because it was a great time to read, listen to a podcast, and just “mentally prepare” for the day. Sorry productivity experts, I don’t meditate, go to the gym, journal 1,000 words or all of the other “must haves” in the morning.

I try to end my day around 5:15pm by going to the gym (or doing something else) rather than just having the day fade out and me wandering out of my office to flop on the couch (literally 5 steps away). Setting boundaries is pretty important when you’re working from home (or are you living at work?). I’m quite bad at setting those boundaries myself so having something like a scheduled session at the gym helps force the end of my day.

#3 REMOTE: Office not required

Get it now at

First published in 2013, this is a guide championing remote working from the founders of 37 Signals. Unlike the previous two articles, this is a book so weill take a couple of hours to work through. It breaks up the challenges and benefits of remote working into an array of short chapters, and even though it was published 7 years ago, it’s still a worthy read.

Here’s my three taster quotes

Third, show them work often. This is the best way to chip away at a client’s natural situational anxiety. Look, they’re paying you big bucks for your work, and it’s totally natural for them to begin feeling anxious the moment they send you the deposit. So show them what they’re paying for.

If work is all-consuming, the worker is far more likely to burn out. This is true even if the person loves what he does. Perhaps especially if he loves what he does, since it won’t seem like a problem until it’s too late.

There are two fundamental ways not to be ignored at work. One is to make noise. The other is to make progress, to do exceptional work.





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I am Tom Steel, I live in Sussex and work in digital services in London.
Reading this blog and looking at my photos on Flickr will probably tell you more than a few words here could.

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