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Why I Chose to Build a Remote-First Agency

3 May, 2024
10–12 min

“Our journey into becoming a remote-first agency is one of transformation, innovation, and embracing what we honestly believe to be the future of work. Let me share with you why and how I developed Blue Llama in this way.”


What is a Remote-First Agency?

In its essence, a remote-first agency prioritises doing work remotely over having a team working together in an office. For us at Blue Llama, this means assembling the brightest talents from across Europe, dedicated to delivering unparalleled digital services. This approach not only vastly expands our talent pool, which is limited here in Jersey, but also infuses our projects with diverse insights and expertise.

Why I Chose Remote-First

With a background as a project manager and business analyst, I have a natural inclination for clarity, simplicity and adaptability. The remote-first model offered a solution that resonated with my personal working style and enabled me to manage remote workers easily by creating detailed specifications and using project management tools to assign responsibilities and get feedback.

Initially, the concept of remote work was something we didn’t openly advertise to prospective clients, almost as if it was a compromise rather than a strategic choice. However, the global shift during the COVID-19 pandemic removed the stigma and showcased the potential of remote work. We transitioned from hiding our remote nature to embracing and leading with it. In my opinion the advantages greatly outweigh the negatives!

Grass root partnerships

All locals know that Jersey is a little bit different to everywhere else! Some things just don’t fit the same mould as the UK. These Jerseyisms also translate into digital services. Things like .je domain names, limited payment providers, unique mobile operators and troublesome postcode mapping are things we encounter frequently that are distinct to the island. Our international team have come to understand these things s their journey with us has mapped out.

That said I acknowledge that some things are better done in person. To bridge that gap we have a diverse set of local partners to cover where a remote work doesn’t cut it. From photographers and video producers to marketing and brand consultants who understands the local market, we can bring in Jersey talent when they are needed.

Meet Our Team

You can find out more about us here!

Why Be Remote-First?

Larger Talent Pool

Our remote-first approach allows us to tap into a vast talent pool, not just generalists but true specialists in their fields. This resource empowers us to scale our services dynamically, precisely and efficiently to meet a diverse range of client needs. By expanding our recruitment outside of Jersey, we can offer specialised expertise that enhances both the scope and the quality of our solutions.


Sustainability is inherently linked to delivering value. Collaborating with professionals from less expensive global locations offers significant cost-effectiveness. This global approach not only broadens our perspectives but also ensures that we provide exceptional value, making our services an excellent investment for our clients.


Our structure supports rapid scaling, so we can swiftly onboard new team members and expand our capabilities to accommodate large projects. Having this agility is a game-changer and enables us to provide a highly responsive level of service to our clients.

New Perspectives

Operating beyond the local mindset, our global team brings fresh, diverse perspectives that enrich our approach to problem-solving and innovation. This broader worldview helps us think outside the box and create solutions that are culturally informed and globally relevant, providing a competitive edge.

The Challenges… and How to Overcome Them

Finding and retaining top talent requires a refined process, from sifting through CVs to conducting interviews that often include test tasks. As part of this process, we ask individuals to send us a video of themselves before the interview process and set test tasks aligned to remote work. 

SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and clear communication of our values help maintain our culture and efficiency, even as we navigate challenges such as global conflicts (with some of our team located in Ukraine!) or the loneliness that remote work can sometimes bring. 

When recruiting, a big factor is human connection and a shared purpose. Cultivating our Blue Llama culture, communicating our values and making people feel truly valued and part of something bigger, is so important. Our day-to-day interactions have emphasis on feedback and respect, ensuring our team feels valued and connected despite the geographical distances. 

Communication, in-person meet-ups where possible, generally treating people well, with kindness and humility, offering Christmas Bonuses – are all important. It’s a mutual respect for each other and our commitments, as whilst we are all part of a well oiled llama machine dedicated to delivering excellence in our field, we are still all human – with feelings, needs and day-to-day lives. 

When it comes to managing work across time zones while still keeping track of things, we utilise collaborative tools including Slack, Zoom, Loom,, Google Docs, Google Drive and Adobe Creative Suite, which allow us to share and collaborate more easily. 

Words of Warning…

Whilst the idea of working remotely and doing things different to the status quo may sound appealing, it isn’t for everyone. The romantic idea of positioning yourself in the corner of a coffee shop with your laptop poised and freshly brewed cappuccino on tap – is not the reality.

It comes with a lot of responsibility,  accompanied by interfered down-time and irregular working hours. It can also be quite lonely, after work beers are just not the same when flying solo…

The Tools We Use to Make It Happen

If you’re considering taking the remote-first approach for your business, you may want to check out our toolkit. We’ve already mentioned Slack for day-to-day communication, Zoom for face-to-face meetings, and Adobe’s suite for collaborative creativity. But there are also tools like Teamwork, HubStaff, Wise, and UpW that streamline our operations, while Fathom and Loom offer insights and personalised communication avenues.

In Conclusion

Building a remote-first agency at Blue Llama has been a journey of discovery, with both challenges, and immense reward. It’s a testament to our commitment to not just adapting, but thriving in the evolving landscape of digital services. Our team, drawn from locations across Europe, embodies the best in technical expertise, creativity, and innovation—ready to deliver exceptional results for our clients.

Thank you so much for reading. Check out the awesome people who make up our team and make it truly unique. If you’d like to discuss a digital project – or working with us, let’s talk! 

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Phil de Gruchy

Phil is the owner of Blue Llama, a digital agency in Jersey, Channel Islands. He has worked in digital for most of his career and has a wide knowledge of UX, web and app design and digital marketing.