Why and How m3ter Does Remote-First

Greg Murphy, COO, m3ter
Author: Greg Murphy, COO at m³ter | Date: May 24, 2022 | #Other
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m3ter has been remote-first from the very beginning; actually, even before that. When our co-founders John Griffin and Griffin Parry decided it was time to start m3ter, they had already decided any company they founded would be remote-first (and this was pre-pandemic).

Our first company, GameSparks, had offices in York and Dublin, and while there’s no doubt that business was successful – it was acquired by Amazon in 2017 – Griff and John knew they wanted to do things differently the second time. 

As the COO of m3ter, I get to witness our remote-first policies in action every day and help shape how they’ll look going forward. In this blog, I’ll walk you through why m3ter does remote-first, how we do it, and what our popular “m33tups” are like.

Why m3ter does remote-first

m3ter intentionally chose to be remote-first from the start because it benefits not only the company, but also both the applicants and employees.

Traditional companies typically put offices in locations where there’s large amounts of talent available and other adjacent organizations. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does mean you can only take advantage of the hiring pool in those locations. It also means competing with all the other companies in the area for the best talent, something that’s become increasingly difficult in recent years in cities like London. It’s also been great to see Airbnb announce a remarkably similar approach just last month, which is great validation of our direction!

Meanwhile, there are countless great candidates distributed around the world who might not want to move to larger cities, or maybe they live in a big city but would rather move somewhere else.

Remote-first gets rid of the constraints on people needing to be in a certain location. That benefits the company, as it gives access to a much wider talent pool. And it benefits applicants and employees, by giving people more freedom and choice around where they choose to live their lives.

These reasons always made up the intention behind the decision to be remote-first, but the coronavirus pandemic just reinforced that choice. m3ter even had the benefit of being a bit ahead of the curve vs. some other companies, allowing us to be more prepared and just ride the wave.

As an example of how our remote-first policy benefits everyone, let’s talk about Alex Ardelean, one of m3ter’s principal software engineers. Alex worked with us at GameSparks in the York office, but decided to move back to her home country of Romania around the time we were bought by Amazon. We were able to arrange for her to continue working, but since she was the only remote team member, things weren’t really sustainable and she moved on to other roles.

Now, Alex is working with m3ter from Romania. Our remote-first policy allows her to work for the company she wants to from the location she wants to, and to be on the same footing as everyone else on the team. The policy allows us to work with extremely talented people like Alex, and to recruit them from anywhere without asking them to move.

It’s a win-win.

How m3ter does remote-first

m3ter is growing rapidly, and we are building the team with the full intention of remaining remote-first for the long haul. Our team currently has 32 full-time and 8 part-time employees, with three pending full-time starts in Q2. 

We work from all over, and fully expect this location list to expand significantly in the next year:

  • UK

  • Romania

  • Turkey

  • Ireland

  • Cyprus

  • Hungary

While we fully intend for people to continue working from the location they choose, we also aim to blend that setup with people getting together in person at certain times. Let’s talk more about how our in-person “m33tups” work.

m33tups

Once per quarter, our whole team gets together in one location to spend time together, go over company updates, review the current quarter, plan the next one and work collaboratively. So far, we’ve had m33tups in Lisbon, Gran Canaria, Belfast and York, and we’re vising Cluj in Romania in Q2.

We had decided to have these m33tups from the beginning for a variety of reasons. We didn’t want anyone feeling isolated while working remotely, and getting together in-person to get to know each other helps with that even when we do go back to remote. Plus, each m33tup we have includes all the new joiners from that quarter, allowing the whole team to get to know them and keeping everyone on the same level.

Why are m33tups so important for our team? What do they help us do? 

Build relationships

It’s great to meet the people who you typically see in a box on the screen. m33tups allow us to build relationships within the team, and we find that getting to know people’s personalities in a social setting allows everyone to work better together as well. We do plenty of fun activities that give us time to get to know each other – in Lisbon, that meant a sunset cruise, paddle boarding, hiking, and team dinners.

Have everyone in one place & give company updates

These get-togethers are also a good opportunity to disseminate company information, so we usually have some All Hands meetings at each one. We go over what we’ve achieved in that quarter and plan for the next one. Having everyone in one room for these sessions keeps the whole team engaged and allows everyone to give input.

Smaller team collaboration

m33tups can also be an opportunity for individual teams within the company to do bits of collaborative work together. Usually at least one day in each trip is saved for people to work as normal and/or self-organize as teams. So far, we’ve seen many teams stack up certain tasks and discussions to collaborate on face-to-face during these days.

The m33tups have been really positive so far, and each one we’ve done has gotten better. They also keep getting bigger, as our team is constantly growing. Dave Moorhouse, Product Manager, had this to say after our Q1 m33tup in Lisbon: 

It was really noticeable in our next stand-up that friendships had been formed on the m33tup – lots of smiles and shared memories – it really reinforced the value that they bring.

Dave Moorhouse, Product Manager, M3ter

Going forward, we’ll be intentional about holding onto that feeling even as the team keeps growing. We always prioritize having time for smaller groups to get together so people can get to know each other in a more intimate setting – including those they may not work with on a day-to-day basis.

Smaller in-person gatherings

In some locations, there are clusters of m3ter team members within short distances of each other. Many of these groups choose to get together for a coworking day or dinner every month or two – a local m33tup – to have some face-to-face time. 

For example, a group of m3ter team members met up in Leeds last month to work together for a day and socialise!

Our remote-first setup is a major piece of the m3ter mindset. We look forward to continuing our remote collaboration, international m33tups, and local m33tups for many years to come.

Have any questions about our remote-first operations, our m33tups, or what roles we’re currently hiring for? Reach out to us at people@m3ter.com.

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