7 Remote Work Guidelines & Learnings from Top Distributed Companies

Top Companies Remote Work GuidelinesRemote work is becoming more prevalent, and many tech oriented companies are making the switch to hiring and managing remote teams, with pioneer ones already sharing learnings and insights about their remote work experience, including their own remote work guidelines and resources.

Some of the companies with remote work learnings are Google, Zapier, Trello, Buffer, Gitlab, InVision, and Hotjar. They have a few years of experience with remote or highly distributed teams, so they are perfectly poised to offer advice on what works, what doesn’t, and how best to go about hiring, managing, and growing a remote team.

The best? These companies have developed and shared remote work guides that outline everything from the tools to use, the benefits and challenges of working remotely, how to handle hiring and on-boarding of remote workers, ways to conduct meetings and encourage communication, and resources to find your next remote job.

No matter where you or your company are in your remote work journey, these guidelines and best practices will help you land a job, create your remote team, or level up your efficiency and remote company culture.

1. Google

“Working Together When We’re Not Together”

This resource from Google outlines some of the common problems remote teams may face, including odd work hours to connect with colleagues from different time zones and having to deal with technical glitches that can impede communication.

There are three top tips listed to help remote teams feel more connected:

  • Get to know each other as people
  • Set boundaries
  • Forge in-person and virtual connections

Each of these points is addressed in more detail with examples on how you can implement them.

“Distributed Work Playbooks”

The recommendations in these playbooks are tailored to specific roles: distributed employees, buddies of distributed employees, managers, and leaders. Each role is given a list of ways they can improve distributed work.

For example, employees are advised to make sure they strike up conversations with others by asking open-ended questions such as, “what did you do this weekend?” in order to build rapport. Google recommends that leaders look at the meeting schedules to see if any distributed employees are often joining meetings at off-hours, and to restructure the meeting schedule to one that works for everyone or one that rotates who must work at odd hours.

Each role is given four suggestions on how they can improve their distributed work.

2. Zapier

“The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work”

This guide really is an ultimate resource for those working remotely, managing a remote team, or considering remote work in the future. Starting with how to hire and run a remote team, the guide moves on to building culture and relationships, improving productivity, and evaluating the performance of remote employees. There is advice on how to find and get hired for a remote job, and a toolkit of over thirty productivity tools and apps that can help you work smarter. This guide finishes with a list of the best blog posts, articles, and other resources on remote work.

3. Trello

“How to Embrace Remote Work”

Trello’s article begins by clarifying about some common remote work myths, with tips on how to handle these negative stereotypes. Because communication and collaboration are so important to the success of remote teams, Trello’s guide goes into detail with tips and tools to improve communication between team members. There is advice on creating a remote company culture and an interesting alternative to the expensive “off-site” vacation most companies advocate for remote teams.

The guide ends with recommendations on where to find remote work and how to prepare yourself for working remotely.

4. Buffer

“40 Lessons from 4 Years of Remote Work”

This guide has forty tips about managing remote work and remote teams, how to maintain a work-life balance, and some recommendations of tools that can make remote work easier or more productive.

“State of Remote Work”

Buffer creates an annual report on remote work. This shows the biggest struggle remote workers face, the amount of vacation time remote workers take, and other interesting statistics related to how remote workers work.

5. Gitlab

“Remote Work Resources”

Gitlab’s guide is a great resource to save or bookmark, as it has a huge number of links related to remote work. There are articles, videos, interviews, threads, and presentations about how to approach remote work and an all-remote company structure. Gitlab’s list of helpful tools and organizations can make your work more efficient and less stressful. If you don’t have a remote job yet, there is a list of 60 job boards where you may be able to find something that suits you.

6. InVision

“Collaboration Workflows for Remote Design Teams”

The guide from InVision has suggestions for how to communicate effectively when working with remote design teams. Design teams working remotely have a unique challenge; they need immediate, clear feedback which can be hard to convey through emails or other forms of written communication.

“Building InVision Studio With a Fully Remote Team”

InVision starts this article by addressing the advantages and challenges that remote teams will face. They state that the “most successful remote teams are willing to experiment and open to new ways of working and improving their process.” InVision Studio was created with a fully remote team, so they have some strong advice on how to accomplish remote work.

7. Hotjar

“How to Grow and Run a Remote Business – the Hotjar Way”

In this guide, Hotjar outlines their core values that help to run a remote business. They explain their hiring and onboarding process for new employees. Hotjar suggests how to conduct remote meetings and celebrate successes among employees. They focus more on accountability than working hours, which presents an interesting solution to the work hours issue many remote teams face.

“An Introduction to Remote Work from a Remote Company”

This overview explains some benefits and disadvantages to remote work, which seasoned remote workers will already be familiar with. There are five suggestions on ways to stay productive, such as taking breaks, setting boundaries, and tracking your time. If you haven’t found a remote job yet, Hotjar lists three places you can look for remote work.

Do you need more resources for remote work success? Take a look at:


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