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Summary of The New Corner Office 

Short summary

Laura Vanderkam studies time for a living. She is the author of the following time management books Juliet's School of Possibilities, Off the Clock, I Know How She Does It, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, and 168 Hours. In The New Corner Office, Laura shares 5 major tips that successful remote workers use to get work done while avoiding burnout in the process. If you're a remote worker, about becoming one, or have a loved one who works remotely, then you can't afford to miss the precious tips in this summary.

Key points


Manage by task, not time

Before Covid-19, employers and managers were scared of allowing their employees to work from home. They were scared that employees would spend work hours doing other stuff like watching Netflix rather than actually working.

The concern is legitimate, given that the business world has always had people working 9-5 in office buildings where no one was allowed to leave unless it's 5 pm. However, statistics from a poll conducted in 2020 revealed that self directed, high performing employees were committed to their work when they worked remotely. The majority of them even got more work done from home.

Less engaged employees who weren't high performers even while working in office buildings with coworkers didn't show any sign of improvement.
Remote work doesn't change employees; the engaged ones will remain engaged and the least engaged ones will remain that way.
What does this mean? At the very least, it means employers can be confident in their engaged employees to deliver irrespective of where they're working from. Have faith in your people.

If you're running your own show, working as an employee, or managing a group of employees, here is one powerful tip for working remotely: manage by task, not time.

Rather than set hourly goals for yourself, determine to set goals by the tasks to be accomplished instead. Let's say you're a paid ads specialist in an organization. Your goal shouldn't be to work eight hours a day. Instead, set targets for the number of ads you'll run or manage per day.

The reason working by tasks and not time is so effective is that it allows you to spread your work hours as you want. You can work a few hours in the morning, take a break and continue at night. This ensures that you don't work just because you have to log in the hours, but you work at the hours you're most alive.

If you don't work for yourself, either have your boss set the weekly targets for you, or come up with one and show him or her. Once you have the target you'll be working on for the week, it's time to take a few hours off to actually plan the week. You can dedicate Friday afternoons to planning your coming weeks.

Plot the rhythms of your days to help you get more work done

Each of your workdays has a beginning, a middle, and an ending; the way you handle these phases is important to your productivity.
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Going remote doesn't mean you can't have workplace social engagements


Think big


Get more comfortable working remotely



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