Hello! What's your name, your company name and your role there?
Name: Lance Hodgson
Company name: Sitemate
Role: Head of Growth
Can you give a brief overview of the company background and what you guys do?
Sitemate was founded in 2015 to solve the project management and delivery headaches which millions of companies and workers in the heavy industries face every day.
Today, Sitemate builds technology solutions which enable these industrial companies to easily create smarter and more efficient processes.
What percentage of your company works remotely and have you always been remote-friendly? If not, what prompted the change?
Almost 30% of the company is remote at the moment.
Looking to hire engineers was the main prompt. While there is plenty of great talent in Australia, it made sense for the company to open up the candidate pool to the rest of the world - especially when the tools and processes we run enable our teams to operate and function efficiently no matter where they write code.
What do you see as the biggest advantages of working remotely?
From a company perspective:
- Wider talent pool
- You don't have the same constraints around needing to rent office space
- You have a more diverse company
- You have nodes in different parts of the world, which can be leveraged in a number of ways
- It establishes a high level of trust between the company and employees
From a worker perspective:
- People can choose where they want to live and work, and find the place where they feel most comfortable and most happy
What are the biggest challenges you've faced and the obstacles you've overcome? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
We have faced a couple of challenges, which we have mostly overcome by establishing some basic guidelines around what remote work should look like at Sitemate.
For example, making sure that remote workers are still working in a stable and reliable environment where they can get their best work done e.g a desk, space with a door etc.
What do you look for in a remote employee and how do you hire for good company fit?
Experience working remotely is always a good sign when hiring a remote employee, as they understand how to work remotely and also understand some of the challenges associated with working this way.
A strong process-driven mindset is really important for managing projects and tasks, and you almost definitely want them to be self-motivated and a strong independent worker.
Good company fit is always evolving as the company evolves, but understanding the pain point we are trying to solve for and buying into the mission is pretty important to us.
What elements make up a successful remote team? What’s the trickiest aspect to leading and managing a remote team?
To have a successful remote team, you need to have strong and reliable processes. You need to be able to consistently provide people with interesting and engaging work while ensuring that they are performing - all without looking over their shoulder.
The trickiest parts of leading and managing remote teams is still communication and culture. Communicating individual tasks and activities is relatively easy, but managing and collaborating on strategy is more difficult.
You do also miss out on some strong knowledge exchange, share and information osmosis - which naturally occur when people are in the same room or same space.
How do you nurture your culture and the personal relationships within the company?
We nurture our culture by:
- Creating some fun and relevant 'traditions'
- Being transparent with company progress, sprints, product feedback etc.
- By focusing on our customers and customer pain points
Building personal relationships can be more difficult, especially when everyone is really busy. Making time for an in-person meeting or video conference for the initial meetings between employees can really enhance the rest of their communications and interactions i.e if I have seen and spoke to someone, messaging them on slack moving forward feels more comfortable and more personal too
What advise would you give to a team just starting out as a remote company or a team transitioning to remote work?
Make sure you have good ops (operations) in place before transitioning or starting with remote work.
While there is always new learnings and adjustments along the way, understanding what tools and processes you will have in place to manage work can have a dramatic impact on productivity and worker satisfaction.