It's no secret that we believe remote work is the future.
Remote work has gone from a "nice-to-have" to a "must-have" if a business wants to 1. reduce costs and 2. hire the best talent.
That's why we're excited for today's interview with Liam Martin, a man so dedicated to the remote lifestyle that he:
⌛️ Built a tool called Time Doctor to help remote companies perform better
- Founded a Running Remote, a conference for remote company leaders
- Worked remotely himself for over a decade
In episode #11 on the More Beach Meetings Podcast by Surf Office, Liam talks about how he started multiple successful remote companies and why people fail at remote work.
Take a listen and keep scrolling to read the highlights.
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Time Doctor: A Tool by a Remote Company for the Remote Industry
Time Doctor is a tool for tracking remote workers and their productivity. It shows how much an employee has actually worked and what they worked on so managers know how their employees spend their work time.
The company was founded back in 2012 making it one of the first remote employee management applications.
The idea didn’t come out of nowhere. Liam ran an online tutoring business and a problem came up at one point: he simply couldn’t know if a tutor has worked as many hours as they claimed. As a result, Liam ended up having problems with students who requested refunds. And so Time Doctor was founded.
The Time Doctor team is fully remote. It is made up of over 70 people working from more than 20 different countries.
Launching a Conference about Remote Work
The idea to create the world's largest remote work conference came to be during one of Liam’s annual team retreat.
“We all got together trying to figure out how to overcome these HR problems. There was a whole bunch of blog posts about ‘how to hire a virtual assistant’ or’ how to run a small team of 3-4 people’ but there was almost nothing on how to build and scale large remote teams.”
The reason for the lack of content on large remote teams, Liam believes, is that there are very few remote companies in the world with more than 100 people.
Nevertheless, Liam wanted to pick their brains and get answers to all of the problems he was having. Since there was no other event like this in the world bringing remote companies together, he decided to create one himself.
For this year's conference in June, Running Remote has put together an incredible lineup of leaders from innovative remote companies like Help Scout, Doist, AngelList, Shopify and others.
Where do People Go Wrong with Remote Work?
According to Liam, the biggest reason why people fail at remote work is a lack of standard operating procedures. Instead of relying on people to figure it out themselves, remote companies should build processes, digitize them and enable their employees to learn from them.
Liam mentions GitLab’s process documentation of how to run the company as one of the best, with a team handbook encompassing more than 2,000 pages.
“If you want to know what kind of share options you get at GitLab, how they run Facebook ads, or how they do demos for their clients, it’s all in there in the repository,” Liam explained.
PS: Since GitLab values transparency, they made the handbook available for anyone who wants to “copy” it and use it as a framework for their company.
Having open and honest communication is also key when running any company, but more so when the company is remote. As Liam says, whenever he’s apprehensive about having a conversation, it’s the exact conversation he needs to have to feel better. As he says, this is how you really move forward in not just business, but also life, and eventually, become a more successful person.
To find out some more stories from the interview, such as…
- The divide between technical and creative freelancers when tracking time
- Time Doctor’s three-level marketing approach
- Why honest conflict is better than honest disharmony
Make sure to listen to the full podcast episode! For more content on remote teams, team retreats and all things company culture, make sure to subscribe. We launch new episodes every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month.