Yardstick founder and CEO, Kevin McLeod and Web Development Manager, Brendon McLeod, nurture, guide, and support Yardstick’s cross-functional team. Essentially, they are the glue that bonds our cohesive unit and helps synchronize all of the remote members, which is indispensable to the growth of the organization and the team itself.

From encouraging virtual water cooler chat (Slack channel #random) to setting clear and structured expectations through bi-monthly Skype meetings and various communication mediums, Kevin and Brendon share their unique perspective and insights on the pros and cons, and the logistics of managing a remote team.

Kevin McLeod

PROS

  • Great work-life balance for all team members plus more flexibility to work when we all want to (i.e. odd hours for those that prefer or need it)
  • Well defined roles allows everyone to work cleanly within their desired skill set/areas of interest
  • Using hourly rates and assigning tasks allows us to track both productivity and efficiency of individual technicians and projects as a whole
  • Slack is integral at helping us communicate more openly and transparently

CONS

  • Sometimes it’s tough to collaborate, but Slack and Appear help a great deal
  • Unlike an office environment where you can quickly lean over and ask the person next to you a question, nurturing new or less experienced team members can take more time or more effort via Slack or Appear
  • We are not 100% remote. We still hold in-person team meetings and do team events to allow the team to socialize and bond
  • Working alone at home can be lonely. So, I always try to book some time out of the office each week (especially in the middle of the week) on business development, sales or customer relationships management.

The biggest challenge for me has been finding the CRM and Project Management systems to:

  • Let the team work the way we want to
  • Provide management with the information it needs to run the business
  • Provide clients with the information they need to know we are delivering on our promises. We are actively looking at better solutions to this challenge right now

Brendon McLeod

PROS

Work-life Balance

  • Being able to schedule work around life as opposed to scheduling life around work
  • Being able to offer roles to team members that are going to provide them with the flexibility they need to pursue their passions and live fulfilling lives

Setting An Industry Standard

  • Creating a business with the kind of remote model that I would want to work in myself
  • Being involved in the emerging trend of remote workplaces and helping to push our industry toward the kinds of workplaces that create better job satisfaction

Global Opportunity

  • Because our business model doesn’t require a physical workspace, we’re creating job opportunities that can potentially be offered to anyone anywhere
  • Team members aren’t required to live in expensive cities like Vancouver if they don’t want

CONS

Training & Support

  • Much easier in an office environment to sit beside someone and demonstrate something quickly or provide them with feedback
  • In a remote environment, these moments need to be purposefully scheduled so that team members can regularly share knowledge

Team Cohesion

  • It takes much longer to build rapport and strong relationships with team members when you aren’t interacting with them visually or verbally on a regular basis
  • Many team members have specialized roles and don’t necessarily interact with each other regularly, so planning and holding regular full team events is very important
  • Team members can sometimes feel isolated or lonely if they’re used to working in an office environment with many people around

Personal Responsibility

  • It can be difficult for some people to stay disciplined while working remotely
  • There isn’t much support we can yet offer that will help people who aren’t used to this kind of working environment