The Suddenly Remote Playbook

My Post (6).pngA Playbook for Sustaining an Enterprise-grade Remote Work Environment

We blinked, and suddenly, the future of work materialized.

The COVID-19 pandemic circling the world transformed the gradual advance of remote work into a stampede, compelling millions of people to abandon the office and go home. From Google, Apple, and Microsoft to Chevron, AT&T, and Spotify, the list of companies embracing remote grew and grew.

This has been an extraordinary moment for remote work. Entire populations have been forced to work from home, proving remote infrastructure viable on a massive scale. Now, companies of all sizes ask: “How do you do distributed work the right way? How do you run a remote operation with the most efficiency?”

Toptal knows the answer firsthand.

For years, Toptal has had the world’s largest fully distributed workforce. With our network of top talent and core team members, Toptal has spent a decade pioneering what it means to be a totally remote company. The lessons learned—about technology, productivity, culture, and simply making it work when there is no office at all—serve as a roadmap for both companies and workers finding themselves in this suddenly remote work environment.

Prompted by urgent need and requests, we are going to share how we do it. This Playbook offers learnings across all areas of the remote work experience, from Slack best practices and Zoom etiquette to advice for managers of remote teams and, critically, how to create a culture and work environment built on trust.

Toptal’s experience can help organizations struggling with a challenging new reality and those planning for the future. Companies cannot bear the risk of not doing business for months, quarters, or years. By preparing for future pandemics or other major disruptions, companies will transition, quite naturally, away from the office and toward the distributed workforce.

Furthermore, we have taken time to interview several of our leadership team members for this Playbook and have included them throughout different sections. These podcasts provide you an inside look directly from the team members who work at Toptal.

We hope that you enjoy gaining insight into Toptal and are able to apply the knowledge that you learn here to build a successful remote organization of your own.

-Taso Du Val, CEO, Toptal

The Toptal Playbook for Remote Work:

  • Part 1. “People: Building and Sustaining a Strong Remote Team” describes the human resource work of a distributed company, from recruiting, hiring, and onboarding to goal setting, mentoring, and career development.
  • Part 2. “Culture: Creating a Values-based Culture” explores the techniques needed to build and sustain a strong culture in a remote environment.
  • Part 3. “Productivity: The Path to Effective Remote Work” answers key questions about getting work done at home, holding meaningful meetings, and enabling self-management through metrics.
  • Part 4. “Security & Support: Staying Secure and Making IT Work” addresses Toptal’s perspective on security and IT support for remote teams.
  • Part 5. “Tools: Software for an Asynchronous and Organized Workplace” provides details and examples of the best daily tools to use and how to make the most of them when working remotely.
  • Part 6. “Common Problems: Getting Ahead of Pitfalls While Working Remote” explores how to anticipate and avoid potential difficulties for remote organizations and workers.

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