How Businesses Can Thrive Without a Physical Office in Today’s World


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In this post-pandemic world, there is a Tale of Two Companies. Some companies are experiencing amnesia and continuing to require their employees to work from a traditional office setup, while other companies are embracing the possibilities of virtual workspaces for their employees. Of course, the nature of some companies prohibits the option of remote work, such as manufacturing or service-based businesses.

But if remote work is a possibility, the companies that embrace a remote work mindset will find themselves flourishing with an abundance of talent, diversity and profitability.

Related: What It Takes To Build a Successful Business, Without Physical Office Space

Transitioning to a fully remote work model

We can learn important lessons from Shopify, an ecommerce platform that has successfully pivoted to a fully remote work model. Shopify’s transition to fully remote work started before the pandemic, though the transition was accelerated to become fully remote as of March 2020.

Shopify gradually revised its company policies to be remote-friendly. It created best practices for building effective remote teams and how teams worked together and issued standard equipment to all employees. Shopify set boundaries for work-life balance at home to avoid employee burnout and embraced collaboration tools to stay connected with clients. It has been purposeful that communicating to move projects forward and communicating to build trust are both pillars of effective employee engagement. Now that Shopify has made the transition, it finds itself to be more adaptable to the needs of its clients and more attractive as an employer, for both hiring and retention.

INS Global’s journey to a borderless workforce:

As CEO of INS Global, our experience with building and optimizing a remote workforce was different from that of Shopify. We have been at least partially remote-based from our inception, with the Covid-19 pandemic serving as an additional catalyst toward an increased remote workforce. Today, our company has physical office locations mixed with a remote workforce that allows us to serve client needs in a truly global way.

As remote work became more prevalent at INS Global, we started to standardize internal processes and ways of working that integrated digital collaboration and teaming. Collaborative tools, such as global instant messaging platforms and shared Kanban-style project boards, were essential to moving workflow forward with individuals across time zones and countries. We also established regular recurring touchpoints with teams to share best practices and ongoing professional development with each region and department. While home bases are spread across the globe, we augment our virtual tools with annual in-person meetings to remove any potential barriers that may exist between remote employees.

Related: What a Successful Transition to Permanent Remote Work Looks Like

Undeniable benefits of remote work

INS Global offers HR services for companies that want to hire internationally, and as its leader, I have naturally embraced the value of having employees stationed across the globe. Mirroring the clients we serve, remote work has exponentially widened the talent recruitment net that our company can cast. We have the advantage of being able to source and choose the best talent and we can then offer regional compensation packages that are highly competitive.

Outside of HR benefits, we’ve also used a remote workforce as a growth strategy for entering new markets. The large geographical reach of our employee base has facilitated our growth from three countries to over 160.

A fully remote workforce has also helped create a better customer experience by increasing our awareness of on-the-ground market conditions in all regions. We have a truly international client base, and our team can easily adapt and fine-tune how to meet customer needs.

Our team is in every time zone, understanding the culture, values and communication styles of the countries where we offer services. It would be difficult for us to have a physical office in every country where we do business, but it is feasible and sustainable to have people work globally on a remote basis.

Related: 7 Tips to Manage a Fully Remote International Business

Conquering common challenges

Transitioning to a remote workforce can be a daunting task that comes with its own set of challenges, particularly in terms of legal and compliance issues associated with hiring employees in multiple countries. This is where global Employers of Record (EORs) like INS Global can play a pivotal role in overcoming such barriers. EORs act as intermediaries between companies and their remote employees, handling payroll, taxes, benefits and other administrative tasks to ensure compliance with local labor laws.

By serving businesses large and small that operate in foreign markets, EORs can help to remove the logistical and time-consuming burden associated with expansion, thereby allowing businesses to focus on their core objectives. Moreover, because of our global workforce, companies hiring globally can have a trusted partner on the ground to expedite the hiring process and facilitate integration into the workforce.

Whether you are considering moving to a fully remote workforce in the U.S. or expanding your workforce to other markets, by doing so, your company will have the opportunity to recruit and retain top talent. Successfully making the transition requires strategically thinking about putting systems, processes and teams in place to support your new ways of working.

As the future of work continues to evolve, embracing remote work with an Employer of Record will be essential for companies seeking to flourish in the digital age.

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